This hot off the press just 15 minutes ago: http://www.tdg.ch/monde/americains-suisse-roulent-barack-obama/story/20074317 The article makes no mention of the plight of US Persons abroad as to double taxation and draconian and privacy-invasive reporting and penalty policies–issues that are very important to many USPs in Switzerland in light of this election. The article only seems to suggest that Swiss bank secrecy will become a minor issue if Romney is elected!
The president of Republicans Abroad seems to suggest that the majority of Americans in Geneva are working for international organizations and consequently vote Democrat, while suggesting that Republicans tend to be in the private sector. My speculation is that many Americans in Geneva have expat packages (so-called “assignees” to local offices of large US corporations) or are otherwise insulated from the effects of double taxation (UN tax-free status, which as far as I know requires declaring only US income to the US– the UN pays tax to the US for the US Person UN officer).
Translation from the French:
Americans in Switzerland roll rather for [tend to support] Barack Obama
Democrats and Republicans are conducting their campaign in Switzerland in anticipation of the American presidential election. Though it is impossible to know exact figures about who Americans vote for, the trend may be towards the democrats.
The battle for the American presidential election is being waged not only in the United States. On November 6th, 2012, some five million Americans living abroad (according to figures provided in 2009 by the US Dept. of State) will have the possibility to elect the next tenant of the White House.
[This is] a significant portion of the electorate. For this reason, Democrats and Republicans have conducted an energetic campaign abroad, as well as in Switzerland. For the partisans of Barack Obama and of Mitt Romney, it is all about convincing the some 15’000 Americans living in our country to vote for their little horse [colt/foal =favorite candidate].
Practically speaking, their work consists of fund raising and organizing rallies, and also informing the American community about ballot procedures. “Many folks do not know how it works” notes Maya Samara, president of Geneva-based Democrats in Switzerland.
Tendency towards the Democrats
And yet it is impossible to know precisely to which camp expatriates lean. “We have no numerical data about the voting habits of Americans abroad, because each person votes directly via the local authorities of his or her town or State of origin”, explained Maya Samara, “Furthermore, our compatriots are not obliged to register with the American embassy when they arrive in Switzerland”, she continued.
For Edward Patrick Flaherty, attorney and president of Republicans Abroad in Geneva, there is nonetheless a trend. “It is anecdotal, but I suppose that given that many Americans in Geneva work for the UN or for other international organizations, they tend to vote Democrat”, he stated while adding “Republicans tend to be in the private sector”.
« Cult Effect » no more
Will Barack Obama repeat his exploit of 2008? Ed Flaherty doesn’t see a reversal of the trend this year, but there is a risk that the vote will be closer. “I think that many Democrats are disappointed by the performance of Barack Obama, and might abstain from voting” he stated.
Among other things, the incumbent President cannot count on the “Cult” and “Historical” effects of his candidature as he did in the last election. “Our members still support him very actively, but they will no longer go out into the street and run around in all directions like in 2008”, analyses Maya Samara. “I think however that Barack Obama will win this election by a substantial margin. He needs another mandate to complete his projects” she stated.
Consequences for Switzerland
Concerning international relations, no matter who wins the November 6 election, nothing will really change for Switzerland, except perhaps taxation matters. “If Mitt Romney becomes President of the United States, Swiss bank secrecy will become a minor issue [emphasis mine, original phrase “cadet des souçis”] for the new American government” predicts Ed Flaherty.
“On the other hand, it is probable that he would cut contributions to the UN and other international organizations, which would have a negative effect upon the Geneva economy in the short term” Flaherty said.
Please, any USPs in Switzerland, post your comments to this article on the TdG site at the bottom of the article under “Publier un nouveau commentaire” available via the link http://www.tdg.ch/monde/americains-suisse-roulent-barack-obama/story/20074317, in English if you cannot write in French. Even USPs in Canada and elsewhere should respond to this article in English or French because many of the issues we face in Switzerland are faced by you in similar ways.
Also, as I do not have time this morning, would Francophone and German-Speaking Brockers please scan the Internet for similar articles in Le Temps, Le Matin, Tages Anzeiger and others and place their comments and links back to IBS and ACA, AARO, Maple, etc.
We need to get the attention of the Swiss press and the Swiss people as to our issues and make it clear that Switzerland is not alone on the list of IRS targets: US Persons, whether US Citizens or green card holders, and their families, and ultimately their neighbors, communities, and economies where they live are all affected by US efforts to exact tributes and impose reporting requirements that damage the privacy protections, equal economic oppourtunity guarantees, and sovereignty of all nations.
What really upsets me is that the Swiss press has shed very little light on the real situation of USPs abroad, and their US election coverage seems to have been almost or even completely devoid of coverage of our issues. This is very disappointing. The press in Switzerland, as we have seen in the US and elsewhere, doesn’t seem to understand just how bad the situation is and that 5+ million people are starting to organize themselves to fight the injustices they face. Though a minority, we are increasingly becoming a force to reckon with as we are all in a position to lobby governments around the world to tell Uncle Sam to stop being such a bully.
US Persons in Switzerland are not just UN employees and employees of US corporations with expat packages. There are retired people, people employed locally in Switzerland, small business owners, and families with children and multinational issues. They are the most affected, and their plight must be made known.
In the meantime, those of you Brockers that understand French might be interested in the Swiss French Television’s (RTS) view of why it is always the Democrats and Republicans that we hear about in the elections: http://www.rts.ch/video/info/journal-12h45/4357740-rts-decouverte-se-demande-pourquoi-lors-de-la-campagne-presidentielle-americaine-ce-sont-toujours-les-democrates-et-les-republicains-qui-s-affrontent-au-final.html