Switzerland

Centre parties gain ground


Published

The big shock of the Swiss federal election was the failure of the largest party, the right wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to reach the magic 30% target. Rather than go up, they have slipped back from 28.9% in 2007 to 25.3% yesterday and may lose around seven seats in the 200 seat National Council (lower house of the bicameral Federal Assembly). The polls were predicting that they would do better.

The second largest party, the centre left Social Democratic Party (SP) was the least affected in the election. They dropped just .6%.

Two additional losers were the FDP.The Liberals (often referred to as the Radicals) who were down to 15% from 17.7% in 2007. They are an amalgamation of two long standing parties who have seen their ratings fall over the years. It seems that the decline is continuing. The other traditional party, the Greens also saw their vote drop from 9.6% in 2007 to 8.3% yesterday.

In stark contrast the two centrist to centre right parties, the Green Liberals (a breakaway group from the more left wing Greens) may well have gained nine seats. The Conservative Democrats (BDP) a splinter group from the SVP may have gained up to four seats, taking their tally to nine seats.

Results for the 46 seat Council of States (upper house) are still awaited. About half the seats have been declared but the rest are likely to go to a second round runoff next month.

Overall the turnout was around 48.6%, slightly up on 2007.

The seven member Cabinet which, traditionally, is made up of the main parties in the Federal Assembly in accordance with their electoral strength will be formed on 14th December. It is likely that the complexion of the new government will be less reactionary, less immigrant hostile, and more economically centrist.

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