ER Editor: Two takes on the same election below – SwissInfo and RT.
See also The Guardian‘s take —
Pro-neutrality party wins Swiss election
The Swiss People’s Party, which is also known for its anti-immigration stance, won 28.6% of the vote in Sunday’s general election
The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which campaigned on a pro-neutrality and anti-immigration platform, emerged as the main winner in Switzerland’s general election on Sunday, garnering 28.6% of the vote.
Amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict, some politicians and officials in the country had been calling for closer alignment with NATO and the abandonment of strict neutrality.
The result represented an increase of three percentage points from the SVP’s showing in 2019. The Social Democrats trailed behind with 18%, with several other parties receiving less than 15% each. The Green Party appears to have been the main loser with a little over 9% – almost four percentage points less than in the previous election.
The right-wing SVP thus gained nine seats in the 200-seat National Council, bringing the number of its representatives to 62.
The SVP has been the most popular political force in Switzerland over the past two decades, but the result on Sunday is among its best on record.
The party wants to restrict immigration to keep the country’s population under a threshold of 10 million, citing overstretched infrastructure and a lack of housing.
The SVP also insists that Switzerland should remain neutral despite recent geopolitical tensions in Europe.
Back in August, a policy document released by the Swiss Army detailed plans to step up its military cooperation with NATO “as much as possible.” Swiss military leaders advocated bringing the army’s operations in line with NATO doctrine, as well as joining the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) defense framework and its European Sky Shield Initiative.
These measures were necessary due to the Ukraine conflict, the report said, claiming that an “epoch of peace in Europe is coming to an end.”
Switzerland has maintained a policy of neutrality since 1815, and did not take sides in either of the two world wars. Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the country has imposed sanctions on Russia, taking its cue from the EU, and sent economic aid to Kiev, but has refused to supply weapons or allow other countries to send Swiss arms or ammunition to Ukraine.
However, some members of the Swiss government have been calling for the relaxation of this long-standing foreign policy. The Swiss People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party have been critical of such suggestions.
Speaking to the Russian media back in February, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia no longer viewed Switzerland as neutral after it joined the “West’s illegal unilateral sanctions.” The diplomat noted that this move disqualified Bern as a potential mediator in the conflict.
The right-wing Swiss People’s Party is the big winner of Sunday’s Swiss federal elections. The left-wing Green Party is the big loser.
PAULINE TURUBAN, OLIVIER PAUCHARD & THOMAS STPHENES for SWISSINFO.CH
Voters have elected a new parliament for the 2023-2027 legislative period. Up for grabs were 200 seats in the House of Representatives and 44 of 46 seats in the Senate.
- The major winner on Sunday was the right-wing Swiss People’s Party with 28.6% of the vote (+3 percentage points since 2019). The Green Party lost almost four percentage points, falling to 9.4%. Overall, parliament has moved to the right.
- Turnout was 46.6%, up from 45.1% four years ago.
- A record 5,909 candidates stood for election to the 200-seat House of Representatives this year; 41% of them were women. In the end, the number of women elected dropped from 84 in 2019 to 77.
Final results for the 200-seat House of Representatives – the composition of which sets the tone for overall gains and losses – show that the People’s Party gained nine seats (for a total of 62), the Social Democrats gained two (41) and the Centre Party gained one (29). The Radical-Liberals lost one (28), the Greens lost five (23), and the Liberal Greens lost six (10).
In the 46-seat Senate, the Centre Party and the Radical-Liberals have so far won the most seats, but because in some cantons none of the candidates won an absolute majority (more than 50% of votes), a second round will be necessary. These will take place in November. In the second round, the candidate(s) with the most votes wins, regardless of the absolute majority rule.
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