Switzerland Ponders Michele Bachmann's Dual Citizenship

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She may be America's Tea Party darling but Congresswoman Michele Bachmann can now run for public office in Switzerland.

It's an unusual idea but with yesterday's news that the Minnesota congresswoman has become a dual Swiss citizen, the Swiss press is weighing the notion of a Bachmann candidacy. 

"She might want to study this a little more closely," writes Ellen Wallace on GenevaLunch, a regional Swiss newspaper in Lake Geneva. "Since being female wouldn’t be the issue it was in the US: Switzerland has already had three women presidents." Wallace takes a deep dive into speculation about her citizenship application, saying rumors are flying that she did it it to avoid U.S. taxes. "The Bachmanns, as Swiss citizens, may or may not have a Swiss bank account ... but given the media play given to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s offshore Swiss account, the question is likely to be raised." 

Elsewhere, Swiss newspapers and tabloids focused on her politics. The widely-read daily Tages Anzeiger homed in on Bachmann's "hardline" stance on immigration and debt reduction. "Bachmann leads the House of Representatives of the arch-conservative Tea Party faction that wants to fight with radical cuts in the public debt of the United States," reads the paper. The Swiss TV network Schweizer Fernsehen noted her aggressive politicking: "Bachmann makes headlines in the U.S. and over again with political attacks on President Obama." And playing on the Tea Party theme, the daily tabloid Blick ran with the headline "Storm in a teacup for Swiss naturalization?"

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Swiss commenters on news sites and forums are not friendly to the notion of a Bachmann candidacy. "This woman is dangerous," writes a commenter Windisch, noting her claim that climate change is a "fairy tale." Writing on the Blick's forum, Windisch says, "The statements she has made in the past, are highly questionable!" Commenter Cyrus on an English-language Swiss news forum wryly asked: "Should we ask to see her birth certificate?" On the same forum,  Olygirl says "Do they know that Switzerland supports gay rights, abortion rights, some censorship." 

In any event, they have little to worry about. When a reporter for Schweizer Fernsehen asked Bachmann if she would run, she quipped that she wouldn't because the competition "would be very stiff because they are very good" referring to Swiss parliamentarians she was with. So the people of Switzerland can relax for now.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.