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Jura makes history by electing foreigners to local office

The Spaniard, Jose Bernal, was one of four foreigners to win a seat in Delémont


Four foreigners have been elected to local office in canton Jura. It's the first time in history that non-Swiss have ever won or been allowed to stand for elected office.

The four foreigners - three Italians and a Spaniard - were elected to the local authority in Delémont, the capital of canton Jura, which has 51 elected members.

The four - all civil servants in Delémont - were among seven foreigners who stood for office for the first time.

One Italian and the Spaniard stood as representatives of the Social Democrats, Switzerland's main centre-left party. The others represent lesser-known parties.

The French-speaking canton in the far northwestern corner of Switzerland broke new ground in 1979, when it allowed foreigners who had lived in Switzerland for more than 10 years to vote in communal and cantonal elections.

This year it went a step further, allowing foreigners to stand in local elections. Twenty decided to put themselves forward in towns such as Delémont, Porrentruy, Bassecourt and Bois.

They failed to win enough support in Bassecourt, Bois and Porrentruy.

swissinfo with agencies

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