Last week, the city of Zurich filed a cantonal initiative to allow foreigners to vote at a municipal level in the canton.
In July 2019, Corine Mauch, Zurich’s mayor, announced her plan to launch the initiative.
If the initiative is successful foreign residents with B or C permits who have lived in Zurich for at least two years will move one step closer to being able to vote on local matters.
The initiative aims to change the canton’s constitution to allow municipalities to grant qualifying foreigners the right to vote and the right to be elected. The change would not force municipalities to offer these rights. Each local authority would be free to choose.
Around 42,000 foreigners in the city of Zurich would currently qualify, according to a press release by the city.
Foreigners living in the French-speaking cantons of Vaud, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Jura can already vote and be elected at a municipal level. In Geneva, foreigners can vote but not be elected. In German-speaking Switzerland the cantons of Graubunden, Basel-City and Appenzell Ausserrhoden allow municipalities to give their foreign residents the right to vote.
Zurich city press release (in German)