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National Council election in Switzerland sees rise of Greens

Despite losses, the SVP nevertheless emerged as the strongest party from the election of the National Council in Switzerland.

Published: October 21, 2019, 8:08 am

    Bern

    Green parties have made strong gains in Switzerland’s parliamentary election, even though the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is set to remain the largest party, despite losing around 3 percent of its support.

    The People’s Party obtained 26,3 percent, about three percentage points weaker than four years ago according to a first extrapolation of the SRF broadcaster.

    Even the Social Democrats (16,5 percent, minus 2,3) and the FDP (15,2 percent, minus 1,2) lost. The clear winner and probably stronger than the Christian Democratic CVP (12 percent, plus 0,4) are thus the Greens. They are fourth strongest with 12,7 percent and a gain of 5,6 percentage points.

    In the run-up to the Nationalrat election, there had been speculation that the Greens, together with the Green Liberals (7,6 percent, plus three), could seek a Federal Council seat by means of a contest.

    The Green Party looked set to overtake the Christian Democrats (CVP) early on, and for the first time certain to obtain a seat in the coalition that governs Switzerland. The seven-member executive is currently made up of members of the main four parties, but not the Greens.

    Final results show the left-wing Green Party with 13 percent of the vote for the House of Representatives, their best result ever. Pollster GfS Bern noted that the party had made spectacular gains, particularly in the French-speaking part of the country.

    “It is not a green wave, it is a tsunami, a hurricane,” deputy party leader Celina Vara told Swiss radio.

    The seven-seat Federal Council had been dominated by the same four main parties for decades: the SVP, the Social Democrats, the FDP liberals and the CVP.

    The SVP, will propably remain the largest party in parliament. Its two key messages were once again restrictions on immigration and asylum seekers, and limiting non-EU member Switzerland’s ties with Brussels.

    But climate change dominated during the election campaign as the single most important issue.

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