Foreigner voting rights
At the national level, only Swiss citizens aged 18 and above are allowed to vote and to stand for election. In some cantons and municipalities however – especially in French-speaking Switzerland – foreigners have certain political rights.
- Deutsch Stimmrecht für Ausländer:innen
- Español Derecho de voto de los extranjeros
- Português Direito de voto para estrangeiros
- 中文 外国人投票权
- Français Droit de vote de la population étrangère
- عربي حق التصويت للأجانب
- Pусский Право голоса для иностранцев
- 日本語 外国人の参政権
- Italiano Voto alle straniere e agli stranieri
Elections and popular votes
Two cantons in French-speaking Switzerland – Neuchâtel and Jura – allow foreigners to vote in cantonal elections and ballots, under certain conditions. In Neuchâtel, they must have a permanent residence permit and have been living in the canton for at least five years; in Jura they must have been living in Switzerland for at least ten years and in the canton for at least a year.
At the local level, French-speaking Switzerland is again more open: foreigners are entitled to vote in municipal elections and ballots in Neuchâtel, Jura, Vaud, Fribourg and Geneva. The conditions vary from canton to canton, but in most cases a certain length of residence or a permanent residence permit are required.
In the larger German-speaking part of the country, only the cantons of Basel City, Graubünden and Appenzell Outer Rhodes authorise their municipalities to allow foreign residents to take part in local votes and elections. Only some of the municipalities in question have however introduced this possibility.
Standing for election
No canton allows foreigners to stand for election, with the exception of Fribourg when it comes to the election of judges.
In Neuchâtel, Jura, Vaud and Fribourg, however, foreign residents entitled to vote at the municipal level also have the right to be elected in their municipality. This is also the case in the municipalities in Basel City, Graubünden and Appenzell Outer Rhodes that have decided to introduce voting rights for foreigners at the local level.
More information on the voting rights of foreigners in Switzerland:
- the official ch.ch information siteExternal link
- statistics on voting rights by the Federal Statistical OfficeExternal link
- the Federal Commission on Migration (in French, German, and Italian)External link
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