Canton Solothurn rejects local referendum to give expats the vote

Canton Solothurn rejects local referendum to give expats the vote

The people of Solothurn have rejected an initiative that would have given Swiss expats the right to vote in certain elections and referendums in the canton. This is in spite of a full endorsement by the cantonal government and Young Socialists Switzerland (JUSO).

Solothurn rejects voting rights for resident expats

The result showed that 73,2 percent of voters rejected the initiative to give holders of a permanent residence permit the right to vote in local and cantonal elections. The vote garnered 23.473 votes in favour to 63.201 votes against, a majority of 39.728.

Advocates of the vote said during the campaign that it was unfair that such a significant proportion of the population were unable to vote. Data from the Federal Statistical Office say around 18,7 percent of the canton’s population are non-Swiss residents. They noted that in other cantons, this rate can rise to around a quarter of the total population, and in some neighbourhoods, the majority of the population may be non-Swiss.

Eight cantons in Switzerland have given expats the vote 

Eight of the 26 cantons in Switzerland have given internationals some voting rights. Particularly in French-speaking parts of Switzerland like Vaud and the city of Geneva, voting rights have been extended to accommodate the large population of disenfranchised people.

The campaign in Solothurn had the backing of Young Socialists Switzerland and the cantonal government, but failed to gain popular support. The move was opposed by some political parties in the canton, who said that expats should “first seek a Swiss passport before getting a say in local politics.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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