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.
Foreigners from the countries outside the EU and with a long-term stay in the Czech Republic may be perhaps granted the right to vote in local elections, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK Friday. Immigrants’ participation in the decision-making process in their place of residence would contribute to their integration, Dienstbier said. He said he wanted to open a debate on the voting right to immigrants and amendments to election laws. At the end of last year, some 441,500 foreigners had a legal stay in the Czech Republic, 238,900 of whom a permanent one.
The smallest German state is the first to try to give the nation’s 2.6 million residents who are foreign-born EU citizens a say in regional politics. Generally, non-German EU citizens may vote in city or town municipal elections in any place where they have been living permanently for more than three months.