Canton Jura has voted to allow foreigners to hold seats in government, while canton Schaffhausen said no to a proposal that would have allowed some non-Swiss to vote. In the western canton of Jura, 54% of voters said yes to allowing foreigners to hold government office on the communal level, while in the eastern canton of Schaffhausen, 85% said no to the idea of foreigners voting after five years of having lived in the canton. That landslide “no” vote reflects longstanding attitudes, with canton Schaffhausen having voted down several proposals related to increasing foreigners’ political rights in the past several years. In this latest vote, both the city and cantonal parliaments advised against approving votes for foreigners.
In canton Jura, however, foreigners gained more political power on Sunday as the Swiss chose to allow them to hold political office in local communes. Foreigners who wish to hold office must have lived at least ten years in Switzerland and one year in canton Jura.
Although a handful of communes around Switzerland have allowed foreigners to hold political office since the year 2000, canton Jura has long been a pioneer in championing foreigner’s political rights. Non-Swiss have been able to vote on the community and cantonal levels since 1979 but may not vote on proposed changes to the Swiss constitution.