158'419 Swiss nationals living abroad are registered on the electoral roll, allowing them to exercise their democratic right to vote. This is the equivalent of the electorate of a Canton such as Neuchâtel - a very sizeable electorate then, and one that continues to grow. It is therefore a vital task to protect the interests of these citizens abroad, and this is the role of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), the mouthpiece of the Fifth Switzerland and recognised as such by the Federal authorities. Even without this political organ of the first order, the Fifth Switzerland would still have a link with Parliament thanks to the inter-party parliamentary group, "The Swiss Abroad", which has about 100 MPs and is sensitive to the cause of the Swiss living outside the country.
For its part, the Organisation of the Swiss abroad (OSA) actively promotes the political rights of Swiss people living abroad and encourages them to get onto the electoral register, so they can participate in political debate, as well as keeping themselves informed about votes and elections, and taking sides should it prove necessary. The OSA is also active in the promotion of electronic voting, a highly important instrument for Swiss citizens distributed around all four corners of the world.