Democracy Initiative - Part 1 - September 2023

"Demokratie Initiative", or Democracy Initiative, is an initiative of the Aktion Vierviertel which seeks to change the paradigm of political participation and citizenry in Switzerland. Currently, the 25% of Swiss residents who are also not citizens nor able to vote or participate in Swiss politics, are subject to a process of petitioning the government after 10 years of residency to become a citizen. The subsequent process can typically take 18 to 30 months before an applicant gets their passport. If the Democracy Initiative is succesful, the federal constitution would be ammended so that applicants will be subject to a transparent and systematic process based on the following principles:

  • eligibility for citizenship after 5 years of legal residency
  • applicant possesses a basic knowledge of one of the four official Swiss languages
  • applicant has not been sentenced to a long-term prison sentence
  • applicant does not endanger Swiss internal or external security

Isi Fink von Heeren, member of the Basel SP political party, and Ina Remane, member of the Basel organising committee for the Initiative, were in the studio to share details. The Initiative seeks to gather the required 100'000 signatures by November 2024 in order for the government to begin the next steps in deliberating and adopting the recommendations of the Initiative. Isi and Ina stayed on for a second segment to describe details of the current naturalisation process. You can find free, public resources and information at the official SP website and the site of Einbürgerung Basel-Stadt. Listen to the first interview below, and the second interview here.