Dead candidate has very real chance of being elected in Geneva

Dead candidate has very real chance of being elected in Geneva

While most voters will have specific preferences for their candidate’s beliefs, character and values, very few Swiss citizens have to worry about their preferred politician’s stance on mortality. However, thanks to an unprecedented situation, the people of Geneva could soon elect someone who is dead - here’s how.

Geneva could elect a dead man on April 2, 2023

On April 2, the residents of Geneva will head to the polls to vote for representatives of the Grand Council and Council of States - the parliament and executive branch of Canton Geneva. At the election, voters will be able to select Mr Raymond Wicky, a Grand Councillor for FDP. The Liberals (in Geneva, PLR. Les Libéraux-Radicaux) who was first elected in 2013. The only problem? The man sadly passed away on February 15, 2023.

This poses quite a large problem for the local government, which had only finalised the list of candidates for the election on February 9, six days before Wicky’s death. What’s more, “As soon as the lists are final, they are no longer modified even in the event of death. or ineligibility,” Chancellor of State Michèle Righetti told Léman Bleu.

Canton Geneva unable to remove the dead man's candidacy

As they are unable to remove the candidate, FDP. The Liberals will be forced to put Wicky’s name and picture on the ballot. "He continues to be a candidate, even if he is no longer of this world," noted Bertrand Reich, president of the FDP in Geneva.

As the third candidate on the list for the FDP, which won 28 seats in the last election in 2018, Wicky has a very real chance of being elected, despite his inability to fill the role. When asked why the authorities were allowing a dead man to stand, Righetti said that “opening the door to changes to the list would raise a lot of questions about the deadlines and the scenarios on which we enter into matters.”

She added that the same situation would arise in most cantons and even in the Swiss parliament if a candidate passes away at the wrong time. In fact, the same situation occurred in Canton Valais in 2018.

Election campaign from beyond the grave a fitting tribute, says FDP

Whether he is elected or not, Reich told Léman Bleu that his campaign from beyond this world is a fitting tribute to his legacy. Visibly moved, he said that "he was a deeply endearing man, deeply open, and I think he would have liked this form of homage that will be paid to him."

Thumb image: / Mystic Stock Photography

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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