Historically expats have had a tough time when it comes to voting on governmental issues in their home country. Repeatedly over the last few months we have seen one nationality of expats after another being let down either by technological glitches or general apathy towards those citizens who have opted to move abroad.
Now, it seems, a group of Swiss expats is seeking to ensure they aren’t the next group to be added to this sorry list.
The next parliamentary elections in Switzerland are to be held in October, so expats are hoping that this gives plenty of time to introduce – and battle-test – a number of initiatives which will help expats to take part in, and vote on, the forthcoming elections. Furthermore, as well as having an effect on the Swiss political system, the same group of expats is also hoping to instigate wider changes which will help to make their expatriate lifestyle easier.
In Bern, Germany, the Organization of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) meets regularly to discuss issues of importance to Swiss expats and to apply pressure where necessary to ensure fairness for Swiss citizens living overseas. Their council of 120 representatives recently voted unanimously on a new set of initiatives that would make the process of living overseas much easier for Swiss citizens.
There are a number of changes proposed. First and foremost is the suggested introduction of better voting systems for overseas nationals. The OSA hope to encourage the Swiss government to introduce better electronic voting systems as well as postal votes, thus allowing Swiss expats to vote on matter of national importance.
However this is not the only proposal for Swiss expats. A second suggestion would see Swiss expats being allowed to maintain a Swiss bank account. Long respected for the privacy and safety of a Swiss bank account, these days the Swiss banking sector has found itself under increasing international pressure.
As a result, Swiss expats find it increasingly difficult to maintain a Swiss bank account, when pressure of the banks is increasingly forcing them to close down the accounts of holder living overseas. The ability to maintain a bank account in Switzerland would make for an easier life for many Swiss expats so is being considered as part of the larger picture for Swiss expats.
Here at Expat Healthcare we’d like to wish Swiss expats the very best of luck with this exciting – and important – new initiative.