Swiss citizens living abroad are to be canvassed about their voting intentions next year ahead of October's general election.This content was published on December 17, 2002 - 17:57
The online survey's main goal is to find out more about the political awareness of non-resident Swiss and to determine which factors influence their voting patterns.
A handpicked few will be shortly sent written invitations to participate in the survey.
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is leading the project, in collaboration with swissinfo and the GFS Research Institute.
OSA told swissinfo that it expected 1000 people to participate in the survey, which is due to go online in February 2003.
The invitations will be sent to thousands of Swiss nationals living abroad, whose details will be selected from data held by the Swiss government.
The organisation is provisionally expecting to complete the evaluation of the results by the end of March 2003.
In a dry run, the questions have already been sent to the members of the Council of Swiss Abroad, which represents the OSA at the highest level.
This committee has the task of ensuring the questions are easy to understand.
Statistics released by the OSA show there are nearly 600,000 Swiss nationals living abroad as of June 2002.
Some 70 per cent, or about 420,000, hold dual nationality.
Just over half are resident in countries belonging to the European Union, with the largest number living in France.
The majority of non-resident Swiss outside Europe have chosen to make the United States their home, numbering approximately 70,000.
Some 82,000 Swiss citizens who live outside the country have, so far, registered to vote in next year's general elections.
swissinfo, Faryal Mirza