Full indicator name: communes and cantons with the right to vote and eligibility for foreigners
This indicator provides information on the range of possibilities that foreign nationals have to participate and have a voice in political life. The exclusion of certain population groups from democratic instruments impacts on their interest and contribution to other areas of political and societal life.
By having the right to vote and to be elected, foreigners can play an active but limited role in society. However, as Switzerland is a federal state, there are considerable differences between cantons, and in some cases, between communes. As a result, the opportunities for political participation are strongly dependent on where a person lives.
At cantonal level, only the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura have given the right to vote and the right to elect to foreign citizens, subject to certain conditions. In contrast, no canton has given the right to be elected to foreign citizens (excepting the canton of Fribourg for the election of judges).
The cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura have awarded the right to vote, to elect and to be elected at communal level. Conditions vary from one canton to another, but in most cases a certain length of stay and/or a settlement permit are required.
At communal level, the canton of Geneva grants the right to vote and the right to elect but not to be elected.
The cantons of Basel-Stadt, Graubünden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden have authorised their communes to introduce the right to vote, the right to elect and the right to be elected. Only some of the communes have introduced these measures and the conditions vary from one commune to another.
This indicator makes a distinction between cantons that grant the right to vote and to eligibility to foreign citizens at cantonal level and those where it is possible at communal level, in all communes. It also shows which communes have awarded their foreign citizens the right to vote, to elect and to be elected, in cantons where communes are free to decide whether to grant these rights.
ContactFederal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
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