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OSCE evaluates Swiss elections

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe describes Swiss democracy as “deep-rooted, vibrant and pluralistic”.

In a report published on Monday, the OSCE had mainly positive feedback for Switzerland after observing last October’s parliamentary elections.

During their 19-day stay in Switzerland, the 11 OSCE experts found that the candidates and their parties campaigned freely and actively. They also noted that the elections addressed a variety of economic, social and international issues.

“Taken as a whole, the cantons have developed a wide range of good electoral practices but these have not been harmonized across the country, leaving each cantonal system with its own strengths and weaknesses,” stated the report.

The Vienna-based organization, of which Switzerland is a member, lamented the fact that there are no federal regulations governing campaign financing and no disclosure requirements for income or expenditure.

“Reportedly, there are wide disparities in the amounts of funding available to different parties, but no official information is published on this issue. Before and during the campaign, there was an active public debate on the merits of developing campaign finance regulations,” the report said.

While acknowledging the convenience of postal voting, the OSCE questioned its integrity. It also pointed out that “strict controls are not always in place to safeguard the secrecy and integrity of the voting and counting processes” – possibly as a consequence of the high level of trust.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR