Tribune de Genève.
According to Tribune de Genève, Geneva councillor Pierre Maudet is ready to give up his French nationality. Maudet recently put himself forward to replace Didier Burkhalter, the federal councillor, equivalent to cabinet member, who announced his resignation in July.
The issue of Maudet’s dual nationality was raised by Céline Amaudruz, a Geneva-based member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP/UDC). Marc Fuhrmann, president of the UDC in Geneva said that it is not Maudet’s origin that is of concern but his allegiance. Imagine if he became Switzerland’s president and during a state visit to Paris he had to present his French passport on arrival. It would be absurd at this level of power said Fuhrmann.
Not all of the UDC party’s members were as adamant. Interviewed by the newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende, a senior member of the party said that dual nationality was not an obstacle.
Former mayor of Geneva, Sandrine Salerno, said she was surprised to see this criticism come from someone from Geneva. Salerno a tri-national (Swiss, Italian, French) said she thinks Geneva’s population of multi-national residents should be viewed as a strength, and pointed out that Pierre Maudet’s dual nationality has never caused problems during his tenure as a cantonal councillor.
- Swiss Federal Councillor and foreign minister Didier Burkhalter resigns (Le News)
- Didier Burkhalter’s replacement to be agreed by 20 September (Le News)
The canton has around 90,000 residents 15 and older holding Swiss and another nationality, according to cantonal records. This represents 29% of the total population in this age group. Across Switzerland there are 873,00 Swiss with another nationality, roughly 10% of the population.
Despite the support of some colleagues Maudet says he would consider giving up his French passport if he is named federal councillor, and get it back at the end of his term.
Born in Switzerland, the only country he says he has lived in, Maudet automatically gained French nationality via his father at birth. He said his loyalty has always been to Switzerland and he feels no allegiance towards France. He also said that he has never confronted any conflicts of interest. At the same time he does not want to be suspected of any conflicts.
Switzerland’s constitution does not prevent dual nationals from becoming federal councillors. It states that federal council positions are open to all Swiss citizens over the age of eighteen, unless they lack legal capacity due to mental illness or mental incapacity.
A replacement for Didier Burkhalter is to be made public by 20 September 2017.