Swiss abroad vote for facilitated naturalisation

Octroyer plus facilement le passeport rouge à croix blanche aux étrangers de la troisième génération va de soi pour les Suisses de l'étranger. Keystone

It was a resounding "yes" to the facilitated naturalization of the grandchildren of immigrants, but also to the tax reform of companies and the new road fund: the Swiss abroad faithfully followed the recommendations of the Swiss government in Sunday's voting.

This content was published on February 13, 2017 - 15:27
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More easily awarding a red-and-white cross passport to an immigrant's grandchild was a no-brainer for the Swiss abroad. On Sunday, they largely said "yes" to the inclusion of this principle in the Constitution. This is shown by an analysis of the results of the vote of February 12 in the 12 cantons that separately count the votes of Swiss abroad.

While the Swiss population endorsed this change by 60.4% of the vote, the percentage of "yes" generally varies between 70% and 80% within the diaspora according to the cantons. 

In this respect, the results of the vote on the third reform of business taxation (EIR III) were surprising. Unlike their compatriots living in the Confederation, the Swiss abroad did not follow the recommendations of the left. In each of the twelve cantons, the citizens approved the reform over the tax status of foreign multinationals while lowering the tax rate of all companies present on Swiss soil.

Away from the impact

One explanation certainly lies in the fact that expatriates were not directly affected by the tax consequences of this reform. Throughout the campaign, opponents did not stop harping about the "tax gifts" to companies that would be passed on by an increase in taxes on the middle class. It was an increase that would not have affected the Swiss abroad, since the Confederation does not tax its citizens abroad.

Contrary to the majority of the Swiss people, the diaspora did not have such a distrustful view of of the reform that was supported by almost all the political and economic elites in the country. On the contrary, the reform was seen as necessary to adapt the Swiss tax system to new OECD standards aimed at reducing tax evasion of multinationals.

Expatriates' confidence in federal authorities was also reflected in the vote on the new road fund to pay for highways and cut traffic, a project also supported by the government and the majority of the parliament. The rate of approval among Swiss foreigners again varied between 70% and 80% depending on the cantons, while the national average was 62%.

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