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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 23 May, 2023 Updated Tue 23 May 2023 07:41 CEST
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Swiss franc gains in strength against the euro. Photo: Pixabay

A move towards voting rights for foreigners in Zurich is turned down; calls for Switzerland to outlaw Nazi symbols; and other news in our roundup on Tuesday.


Zurich parliament rejects communal voting rights for foreigners

Foreign nationals in the canton of Zurich will continue to have no voting rights at municipal level after the canton’s parliament narrowly turned down a proposal by city officials to grant these rights to local foreigners.

Supporters of the initiative — mostly left-leaning parties — brought up positive experiences that other cantons and communities, which allow foreigners to vote locally, have had in this regard. 
The opponents of the move, on the other hand, argued that foreign nationals who want to have the same political rights as Swiss citizens should become naturalised.

With this refusal, the proposals for voting rights for Zurich foreigners remain off the table, at least for the time being.

 READ ALSO: Where in Switzerland can foreigners vote? 

Nazi symbols could soon be banned in Switzerland
In contrast to many other countries, Switzerland doesn’t forbid  Nazi symbols to be displayed in public. This could soon change, after National Council MPs voted this month in favour of such a ban.

However, the Federal Office of Justice sees problems in implementing the new rule.  

The reason is that the list of Nazi symbols is long, often consisting of numbers or abbreviations, which are not as clear to identify as the swastika.

According to Damir Skenderovic, professor of Contemporary History at the University of Freiburg, a list of symbols that should be banned would have to be agreed upon before the ban is implemented.

 “A lot of research is being done in this area, also in other countries. This preparatory work could be used to ban such symbols in Switzerland,” he said.


‘The new normal:’ Franc expected to strengthen further against the euro

Financial experts are forecasting that, in the long-term, the euro will fall drop further below the franc.

For instance, Daniel Kalt, chief economist at UBS, expects an exchange rate of 97 (Swiss) cents for one euro.

This depreciation is mainly attributed to the inflation differential between the eurozone and Switzerland: In April, inflation was still 7 percent in the eurozone, against 2.6 percent in Switzerland. “If this difference persists for a long time, the euro will continue to depreciate,” Kalt said.

Raiffeisen Bank expects an even greater devaluation. “In all probability, the course of the euro will continue to fall below parity,” according to the bank’s economist Alexander Koch. "Over the year, we have a forecast of 95 cents. If this happens, an euro rate below 1 franc will become the new normal.” 


Cantons could backtrack on their decision to force Ukrainians to sell their cars

Earlier this year, Swiss authorities decided that  Ukrainian refugees who drove to Switzerland in a car must sell it and use the money to support themselves before being eligible for social aid.

The reason behind this move was that a vehicle is considered an asset, and people, including Swiss citizens, who have assets don’t qualify for welfare.

Now, however, some cantons have changed their mind about implementing the new rule

According to a report by SRF public broadcaster on Monday,  "very few of these vehicles are worth much. They are not luxury cars.”
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