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Boost for expat seat in parliament

Plans for a guaranteed parliamentary representation of the Swiss abroad community are edging forward.

This content was published on September 24, 2008 - 18:32

The House of Representatives approved a proposal by Social Democrat Carlo Sommaruga from Geneva to create the legal basis to enable Swiss living abroad to be elected to either of the two parliamentary chambers.

The Senate still has to discuss the issue.

Sommaruga said expatriates currently had very little chance of being elected to parliament. Last year 45 candidates stood in elections on lists in their cantons of origin, but none of them were successful.

Opponents argued that it was not justified to set up a special constituency for citizens spread across the globe to create a virtual 27th canton.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) has welcomed the decision. It has also been campaigning for the introduction of e-voting and other measures to facilitate participation in ballots.

About 700,000 Swiss nationals live outside Switzerland, of whom more than 120,000 have registered to vote.

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