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Michele Bachmann Says She Is A ‘Proud American’; Asks To Withdraw Swiss Citizenship


United States congresswoman Michele Bachmann has asked to withdraw her Swiss citizenship less than two months after it was granted. Critics in the US had accused the prominent Tea Party member of policy inconsistency.

Bachmann wrote to the Swiss consulate on Thursday asking to revoke her citizenship.

“I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 per cent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America,” she said.

Her political opponents have noted that Switzerland has universal health care, something Bachmann vigorously opposes.

Swiss officials declined to comment on the move.

“The Embassy does not comment on this private decision by Mrs Bachmann,” Norbert Baerlocher, a spokesman for the Swiss embassy in Washington, said in an email.

He confirmed that the Swiss consulate in Chicago had received Bachmann’s request via email.

She and her husband Marcus finalised a naturalisation process on March 19.

Minnesota election

Bachmann’s move came two days after Swiss national television broke the news that she had registered for Swiss citizenship, which she initially dismissed as a “non-story.”

By Wednesday, her office was scrambling to clarify how she had acquired Swiss citizenship.

Bachman’s spokeswoman Becky Rogness initially said Bachmann had been eligible for it because her husband, Marcus, was of Swiss descent, and that the family recently went through the process together because some of their children had wanted to do it. Bachmann issued a statement later on Wednesday saying her dual citizenship had been an automatic right upon her marriage in 1978.

Her political opponent in the race for re-election in Minnesota state, Democratic businessman Jim Graves, insinuated she might have divided loyalties.

“Earlier this year, Michele Bachmann was Iowan, earlier this week she was Swiss and today she’s an American,” an official from Graves campaign said.

Bachmann ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination and had touted her Iowa roots while campaigning in that state. A founder of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, Bachmann represents Minnesota’s 6th District.

Automatic right

Under Swiss law, which changed in 1992, the wife of a Swiss citizen must actively apply to become Swiss.

“But because they got married earlier in 1978 Michele Bachmann has the automatic right to Swiss nationality,” officials from canton Thurgau’s civil status department told this week.

Marcus Bachmann is a citizen of the village of Wigoltingen in eastern Switzerland.

Nowadays, someone living outside Switzerland applying for naturalisation has to have been married to and lived with a Swiss citizen for at least six years and have “close ties” to Switzerland.

Switzerland allows citizens to hold multiple nationalities, so whether a naturalised person loses previous citizenship depends entirely upon the other country in question.

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swissinfo is an enterprise of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to inform Swiss living abroad about events in their homeland and to raise awareness of Switzerland in other countries. swissinfo achieves this through its nine-language internet news and information platform.

One thought on “Michele Bachmann Says She Is A ‘Proud American’; Asks To Withdraw Swiss Citizenship

  • May 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Though it could lead to confused ideas of loyalty, multiple citizenship is a minor problem; that is until the holder applies for MORE than ONE PASSPORT.

    How anyone would be brazen enough to travel from the USA to Iran with passports from BOTH defies logic but some do just that; then they expect the USA consular service to protect them from the laws of a state where they ACTIVELY claim citizenship!

    Those countries that permit multiple citizenship would be wise to REFUSE passports to those who have another passport; this would eliminate 90% of the controversy byrestricting ONLY active citizenship.


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