Official job to be forced on Swiss resident after town receives 0 applications

Official job to be forced on Swiss resident after town receives 0 applications

A council (Gemeinde) in Switzerland is to force one of its residents to become an elected official after no one applied for the position. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time a local government in Switzerland has given someone a job against their will.

Bucherain in Switzerland to force resident to become new social director

According to Blick, Buchrain near Lucerne is struggling to find a new “social director” for the surrounding area. The elected position needs to be filled by October of this year, when the current director is expected to resign.

Unfortunately, by the August 8 deadline, no one had come forward to stand for the position. Mayor Ivo Egger said that they had failed to attract candidates despite an extensive advertising campaign around the region. According to Blick, Egger blamed the lack of applicants on people being “busy elsewhere.”

Swiss council forced to issue a blank list in election

As the position cannot remain vacant, the council has been forced to issue a “blank list.” On September 25, when the next round of elections and referendums are held, every voter in the region will be given a poll card with every eligible resident in the community added to the list - typically all Swiss citizens over the age of 18. Whoever receives the most votes is then elected and compelled to perform the duties of the office, whether they want the position or not. 

Despite the odd circumstances, the practice of forcing someone into public office is not uncommon in Switzerland. In Duggingen near Basel,  René Hardmeier was reluctantly elected to the municipal council with a grand total of 20 votes, and in Spiringen, Canton Uri, Tobias Imhof was elected against his will in 2017, despite not attending any hustings events. Grounds for resigning the post or appealing the results of the election are highly limited, according to Blick.

For the unlucky resident of Buchrain, there is still hope as candidates are able to put themselves forward after the deadline through non-official lists and media announcements. However, if no candidate is found, according to Blick, the only reliable way to get out of being forcefully elected to political office is to run away and change address.

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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