Former US Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann Becomes Dual Citizen of Switzerland
May 9th, 2012
Rep. Michele Bachmann is now officially a Swiss miss.
Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently became a citizen of Switzerland, making her eligible to run for office in the tiny European nation, according to a Swiss TV report Tuesday.
Arthur Honegger, a reporter for public broadcaster Schweizer Fernsehen, told POLITICO the Swiss consulate in Chicago has confirmed that the former Republican presidential candidate became a citizen March 19.
The Swiss consulate in Chicago covers the state of Minnesota, which Bachmann represents.
Marcus Bachmann, the congresswoman’s husband since 1978, reportedly was eligible for Swiss citizenship due to his parents’ nationality — but only registered it with the Swiss government Feb. 15. Once the process was finalized on March 19, Michele automatically became a citizen as well, according to Honegger.
Bachmann’s three youngest children are also now Swiss citizens, and her two older children are eligible to apply for a fast-track citizenship process, according to an email from the consulate provided and translated by Honegger.
Bachmann’s office confirmed that the congresswoman had received Swiss citizenship, and attributed the decision to her children.
“Congresswoman Bachmann’s husband is of Swiss descent, so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978. However, recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family,” said Bachmann spokesperson Becky Rogness.
The Minnesota congresswoman was interviewed by Swiss national public television in D.C. on Tuesday while with a group of Swiss parliamentarians.
“My husband is a 100 percent Swiss, and his parents were raised in Switzerland, they were married there, they came to the United States, they bought a farm in Wisconsin and raised their three sons there,” said Bachmann.
Asked if she would run for office in Switzerland — as she is now eligible to do — Bachmann joked that the competition “would be very stiff because they are very good,” referring to the parliamentarians behind her.
Each Swiss citizen belongs specifically to a canton, and Bachmann’s is the canton of Thurgau in Northeast Switzerland.
“It’s tough to find a place not to like in Switzerland,” said Bachmann.
The Minnesota congresswoman ran for president this election cycle, and won the Ames straw poll last year, but a sixth-place showing in the Iowa caucuses led to her dropping out.
Bachmann’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Swiss consulate in Chicago was closed when contacted by POLITICO.
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CORRECTION: Marcus Bachmann’s Swiss citizenship was filed on Feb. 15 and granted on March 19. An earlier version of this article said the registration was filed on March 19.