• Switzerland's news in English

'No': Foreigners denied right to vote in Vaud

5 Sep 2011, 11:49

Published: 05 Sep 2011 11:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Sep 2011 11:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Canton Vaud residents in western Switzerland voted on Sunday against an initiative to give registered foreigners the right to vote on cantonal issues.

The “live and vote here” initiative was rejected by almost 70 percent of cantonal voters. Only 40 percent of the electorate turned out, with 108,765 residents voting "No" and 48,966 "Yes".

If the initiative had passed, Canton Vaud would have been the first to allow foreigners living in Switzerland for more than 10 years, three of those in Canton Vaud, to be elected to political office as well as offering them full voting rights. 

Since 2003, around 85,000 people fulfilling the Canton Vaud residence requirements have been able to vote on communal level issues and be elected for communal positions.

Supporters of the initiative had said it was unfair that people who had lived in Switzerland for a long time and who paid taxes could not take part in cantonal votes and elections.

On hearing the result, Raphaël Mahaim of the Green Party, who led support for the initative, told Tages Anzeiger newspaper:

“The result is clear. The time was not yet right for the initiative, but I am optimistic that the debate will not stop here.”

Opponents argued that foreigners who wanted to take part in civil activities should become Swiss citizens. 

“Two out of three Vaud residents are not ready to separate political rights on the cantonal level from obtaining Swiss nationality,” head of Vaud cantonal interior office Philippe Leuba told Tribune de Genève newspaper, adding that the vote should not be seen as a rejection of foreigners.

Leuba explained that Vaud is one of the cantons in which it is easiest to obtain a Swiss passport.

A similar foreigner voting rights initiative was proposed on August 4th in Zürich when a petition with nearly 7,000 signatures was delivered to the cantonal government. Similar proposals fell flat in the cantons of Bern and Basel-Stadt last year. 

Foreigners living in the cantons of Geneva, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Freiburg, Graubünden, Vaud, Jura, Basel-Stadt and Neuenburg may vote in communal, local elections if they are 18 years or older and have been legally registered in one of those cantons for a minimum of eight years. 

Currently, foreigners can vote on a cantonal level only in Neuenburg and Jura.

No foreigner has the right to stand for election in Switzerland.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available