New OSA President

The delegates of the Council of the Swiss Abroad met in Geneva on Friday, 14 August, the day before the Congress of the Swiss Abroad, for their second meeting of the year. The most important item on the agenda was the election of the new President of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA). Remo Gysin, who was previously Vice-President, was elected receiving 67 of the 71 valid votes. The 70-year-old from Basel succeeds Geneva’s Jacques-Simon Eggly, who had been OSA President since 2007. Council of States member Filippo Lombardi has been appointed Vice-President.

Gysin was a cantonal councillor in the canton of Basel-Stadt from 1984 to 1992 and a National Councillor from 1995 to 2007. He has been a member of the OSA’s Executive Board since 2001.

He takes over a challenging task as the OSA has been in some disarray since its long-standing Director Rudolf Wyder stood down at the end of 2013. Around three quarters of the staff at the office in Berne have left the OSA, resulting in a huge loss of expertise. This has also led to criticism from Swiss associations and clubs abroad, which have complained of a lack of support and poor communication.

Remo Gysin is aware of the problems and willing to focus intensively on the OSA. He is also in a position to do so as he no longer holds any professional or political mandates. He is regarded as an analytical thinker and an integrative figure.

Disappointment over e-voting

The Council of the Swiss Abroad has unanimously adopted a resolution on e-voting. This was triggered by the Federal Council’s decision two days before the Council meeting not to permit nine cantons, which had made an application, to use electronic voting at the 2015 elections for security reasons. Instead of the expected 85,000, only 34,000 Swiss Abroad can now exercise their right to vote via the internet.

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