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A service for political professionals · Wednesday, June 19, 2024 · 721,375,677 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Swiss federal elections 2023: ODIHR election observation mission final report

Switzerland's 2023 federal assembly elections were competitive and well organized, and new campaign finance regulation increased transparency, but donation and campaign spending limits are lacking and reporting on spending is regrettably not required. The redesigned internet voting system improves transparency and the ability to verify the overall procedure, but it would be advisable to review its supervision and auditing process. Observers noted some technical deficiencies in reporting election results at the central level in the aftermath of the elections. While a number of steps were taken to increase the accessibility of elections for disabled voters, legislation is still not fully in line with international standards.

These are some of the main conclusions from the final report on the October 2023 elections published by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The report offers 18 recommendations to bring elections further in line with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections.

Key recommendations include:

  • Strengthening transparency rules on disclosing elected officials’ financial interests;
  • Introducing limitations on campaign donations and expenditure, as well as explicit disclosure requirements for donations from state-owned or controlled companies;
  • Allowing for international and citizen observation of all aspects of the electoral process;
  • Prescribing minimum requirements on the composition, mandate and responsibilities of the election administration bodies in charge of internet voting;
  • Amending federal legislation to enable voters with disabilities to independently acquire election-related information and vote independently;
  • Providing accessible voter education materials, including internet voting instructions in formats accessible to voters with disabilities, sign language interpretation and plain language text;
  • Testing and co-ordinating the central results reporting systems with local administrations well before elections take place.

ODIHR deployed an Election Expert Team for these elections from 9 to 26 October. All 57 countries across the OSCE region have formally committed to promptly following up on ODIHR’s election assessments and recommendations. The ODIHR Electoral Recommendations Database tracks the extent to which recommendations are implemented by states across the OSCE region.

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