Swiss National Assembly welcomes diverse voices from Anatolia
by Tuncay Yilmaz
After the recent elections, the Swiss National Assembly will have two members of diverse ethnic backgrounds, Sibel Arslan from Basel representing the Green Party and Hasan Candan from Lucerne, a member of the Social Democrats. This development election reflects the increasing representation of multiculturalism in Swiss politics.
Sibel Arslan: A continuing influence
Sibel Arslan, hailing from Basel and re-elected for her third term, is a figure who has already left a mark in the political arena, not only in Switzerland but also as a representative at the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. Her election represents the continued support and trust of the Turkish community in Switzerland. Born in Erzincan, Turkey, in 1980, Arslan has been a Swiss resident since 1991. She is a graduate of the University of Basel's Faculty of Law. She has served in various capacities, including on the Legal Affairs and Judiciary Committee of the National Council and the Security Directorate of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft.
Hasan Candan: A new face in swiss politics
Hasan Candan brings a new perspective to the assembly, representing the Kurdish population from Lucerne. Born in Lucerne in 1985 to a Swiss mother and a Turkish father, Candan's educational background includes a Master's in Biology and a tenure as a research assistant at the University of Bern. Before his election, he was an active project manager in biological diversity policy at Pro Natura Switzerland and served in the Lucerne Cantonal Council since 2011.
A Shift in Swiss politics
This election has seen a shift in representation, with Mustafa Atici, a previous member from Basel, narrowly missing re-election. This change occurred amidst a reduction in Basel's parliamentary seats from five to four. The increasing presence of left, socialist, social democrat, feminist, and ecologist representatives from Turkey in both the National and Cantonal Councils marks a significant trend in Swiss politics, signaling a more robust voice against global conflicts, increasing living costs, gender discrimination, and racism.
The road ahead
While Arslan and Candan's election is a testament to the growing influence of diverse voices in Swiss politics, the path ahead is challenging. Their success highlights the importance of representing the interests of Turkish and Kurdish communities in Switzerland and abroad. Their roles are crucial in advocating for democracy and human rights in Switzerland and international arenas. The election results are a promising sign for the continued diversification and enrichment of the Swiss political landscape.
Arslan and Candan are set to make meaningful contributions to Swiss politics with their unique backgrounds and commitment to social and environmental issues. Their election serves not only as a milestone for their respective communities but also as an inspiration for greater inclusivity and representation in political processes globally.
* The article was published in Bianet on 24 October. It was adapted to English for Gercek News readers.