Reforming the Swiss citizenship act : mission impossible

Author(s) : Nicole Wichmann

Source :


« After a number of failed attempts to revise the Federal Act on the Acquisition and the Loss of Swiss Citizenship [German: Bürgerrechtsgesetz, (BüG)] of 1952 a complete overhaul of the Swiss Citizenship Act (SCA) is currently under discussion (see Schweizerischer Bundesrat 2011). The legislative project presented by the Federal Council is highly contested, given that protagonists of and close to the Swiss Peoples’ Party SVP see the amendment as an opportunity to clamp down on the number of naturalisations, whereas the left-wing parties consider the time ripe for liberalising the traditionally restrictive naturalisation regime. Attempts to revise the SCA have for many years been blocked, because there is no consensus on whether Switzerland needs a more liberal or restrictive citizenship law (cf. also Achermann et al. 2013:23 ff.). The objective of this paper is to present the main elements of the reform project, to situate them against the background of recent developments at the national and subnational level and to assess whether and how they impact upon the tension between liberalisation and restriction. »


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