Swiss election results: xenophobia 0 commonsense 1

Written by on October 24, 2011 in Swiss politics - 31 Comments

Swiss politics became the ultimate soufflé yesterday: full of hot air and with the middle rising nicely. Left and right lost votes and seats, while the two new parties in the centre broke through in spectacular fashion. The widely-expected, and expensively bought, SVP victory failed to materialise and the right-wing party was left wondering what its millions had achieved. Thanks to a computer failure in Canton Vaud, the complete final results were late coming in so here are the headlines, just in case you’ve missed them (for who the main parties are, see this previous post): In the Nationalrat (or Lower House), where seats are divided up by canton and mainly won by proportional representation, the big losers were the SVP, the FDP and the Greens. Not doing so well were the SP and CVP. Very happy were the newer parties, GLP and BDP.

  • SVP 54 seats (-8), 26.6% (-2.3%). It lost more votes than almost anyone else but remains the largest party. It lost votes for the first time since 1987 (also the last time New Zealand won the rugby World Cup, as they did again yesterday).
  • SP  46 seats (+3), 18.7% (-0.8%). Its lowest vote share in many decades but still managed to gain two seats, including one from the SVP in Vaud. Strongest showings in Schaffhausen, Jura and Vaud.
  • FDP 30 seats (-5), 15.1% (-2.6%). A disastrous night for the founding party of modern Switzerland. Nearly wiped out in Bern, lost its seat in Graubünden for the first time since 1919 and even almost lost its president in Ticino – Fulvio Pelli won by 58 votes.
  • CVP 28 seats (-3), 12.3% (-2.2%). Squeezed in the middle from all sides, the Christian Democrats did particularly badly in Aargau, where it lost two of its three seats.
  • Greens 15 seats (-5), 8.4% (-1.2%). Not many votes lost but a quarter of its seats, thanks to party lists and the cantonal seat divisions. Hard to see much good news for them as the GLP steal all their thunder.
  • GLP 12 seats (+9), 5.4% (+4%). Storming through in the big cantons, such as Bern and Zurich. The GLP is the sexy ‘in’ party and won votes from left, right and centre.
  • BDP 9 seats (+9), 5.4% (+5.4%). The newest party, formed when the SVP split in 2007, did best in Bern, Glarus and its heartland of Graubünden, where it captured 20.5% of the vote and almost overtook the SVP for first place.
  • Others 6 seats (same), 8.1% (-0.3%). The local right-wingers did well in Ticino and Geneva (Lega & MCG respectively), the evangelical EVP held two seats and EDU lost its one.

In the Ständerat (or Upper House) each canton has two seats and candidates have to win more than 50% to be elected. If that doesn’t happen, a second round takes place next month, so final results are not known until then. Many Ständerat races are still in the balance.

  • With 25 seats decided, the SP has 8, CVP and FDP both 7, SVP 4 and Greens 1. The remaining 21 seats go to a second round.
  • The SVP ‘storm into the Senate’ proved to be a storm in a teacup. Its big names – Christoph Blocher, Toni Brunner, Caspar Baader, Adrian Amstutz – all failed to win in the first round so must face the voters again.
  • The SP won a Ständerat seat in Aargau for the first time since the 1940s. Victorious Pascale Bruderer won eight days after giving birth to a daughter.
  • Three-way ties in Bern and Zurich means that these will be the two races to watch in the second round, on 20 and 27 November respectively.
  • Roger Federer won 132 votes in the Schwyz contest. He wasn’t standing officially but his name was written in.

So the drama is over for another four years. Or at least this part of it. Next month are the second rounds for the Ständerat, and then in December the Bundesrat (Federal Council) elections in parliament, and that will be the most interesting part of all.

Switzerland seems a greener, fairer place than on Saturday. The rampant xenophobia and provocative posters of the SVP backfired, with most voters choosing other parties: a far cry for ‘Schweizer wählen SVP’, or Swiss people vote SVP, as it had vainly proclaimed. Today is a good day, at last, to be a foreigner in Switzerland. Perhaps, now that the Swiss have come to their senses, we will no longer be seen as the black sheep that the SVP portray us to be. In fact, that infamous poster showed three white sheep kicking one black one out. With the SVP rejected by 75% of Swiss voters, is it now the real black sheep of Swiss politics?

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31 Comments on "Swiss election results: xenophobia 0 commonsense 1"

  1. David October 24, 2011 at 9:30 am · Reply

    … meaning that New Zealand should win the rugby world cup more often?

    • swisswatching October 24, 2011 at 9:38 am · Reply

      I wouldn’t go that far, though Fergus wouldn’t complain.

      • Fergus Miller October 24, 2011 at 9:56 am · Reply

        All I can say…….yesterday was one of the most stressful days in New Zealand’s history & especially this New Zealander ;-)

  2. Fergus Miller October 24, 2011 at 9:33 am · Reply

    Thank goodness Blocher didn’t get in and the press were wrong about the percentages :-) also the turnout was very high for Swiss standard, a lot of people were also wrong about that as well, just like I have said before the Swiss vote when it matters & the majority of them like people like you & me living here Diccon, you have never had anything to worry about!

    Choosing of the 7 seats will be interesting, the middle will have to think hard about that!

    Yesterday was also OK to be a foreigner in Switzerland also!

    • swisswatching October 24, 2011 at 9:38 am · Reply

      I agree, except that turnout wasn’t “very high by Swiss standards”. It was 48.6%, only 0.3% more than last time. Before 1975 it was always well above 50%. True, it’s higher than in most referendum votes but then you are not comparing like with like; this is a general election so you have to look at those figures. Shame on the 52%, I say.

    • swisswatching October 24, 2011 at 9:39 am · Reply

      Blocher got into the Nationalrat, as did Brunner. Both might yet win the second round of the Ständerat. I wouldn’t write them off just yet.

      • Fergus Miller October 24, 2011 at 9:44 am · Reply

        Yes I agree, it was clear for Brunner, but lets hope Blocher does not get in the Ständerat

      • Daniel October 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm · Reply

        Blocher wil never get into the Ständerat, never.. Would be a real suprise for me. And if, he would have to shut up in there..I hope the centre parties will hold their majority in the Stöckli..

  3. Mark October 24, 2011 at 10:12 am · Reply

    We can indeed breathe a sigh of relief! I work near the HB in Zurich where the SVP poster campaign has been very aggressive. Whilst walking through HB in the last few months, as a “foreigner” in Switzerland, I have felt very uncomfortable and unwanted in a country which my family had come to appreciate as “home”. From today, thanks to the Swiss voting for “commonsense”, we can now feel at “home” again!

  4. Luke October 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm · Reply

    I would like to bring to your attention something I think it’s unique in Europe and maybe in the entire world. In Ticino 2 candidates of the CVP (PPD in Italian) received exactly the same number of votes. What now? A drawing of course!

    • swisswatching October 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm · Reply

      I saw that in the news and thought it was a misprint! In Britain when that happens they toss a coin. Drawing lots is just as random.

      • M:) October 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm · Reply

        As a Ticinese living in the United States I am APPALLED that they are considering a TOIN COSS as a first solution… RECOUNT FIRST, then possibly consider a run-off election, but a LOTTERY? OUCH…

        A Lottery means that my vote is not worth the paper it’s submitted on…

        • swisswatching October 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm · Reply

          I find it odd that a recount isn’t called first, and then resort to luck. That’s what happens in the UK. Even Swiss counters can make mistakes, though it seems that such a possibility is unthinkable for the authorities.

  5. Mark Howells-Mead (@mhm72) October 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm · Reply

    I don’t agree with the sentiment at all, but I do like the clever way that the marketing people connected “Ausschaffung” with sheep (Schafe).

    • Fergus Miller October 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm · Reply

      There is nothing clever about xenophobia that SVP have, this kind of advertising or marketing as you call it would not be allowed in the UK or NZ.

  6. ericdondero October 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm · Reply

    A sad day for libertarians and those who oppose the increasing Islamization of Europe. A good day for the forces of political correctness and the weak-knee Neville Chamberlain type appeasors who want to buy off the Islamists and cowtow to their every desire.

    Liberty will suffer indeed. Will Canada and America be next to fall to the Muhammadens?

    Eric Dondero, Publisher
    LibertarianRepublican.net

    • Fergus Miller October 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm · Reply

      Its not a sad day it’s a happy one for ALL…..I am more of a liberal Churchill type myself :-)

  7. M:) October 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm · Reply

    The Swiss looked behind the courtains of a Karl-Rovian-Like strategy by the populist SVP, (Swiss People’s Party) who tried to use immigrants (black sheep? really?) as a wedge issue… it backfired…

    Take note American pollsters and political consultants who thought they could do lots of money in Switzerland: the Swiss won’t fall for soundbites or slogans…

  8. Fergus Miller October 25, 2011 at 10:52 pm · Reply

    Just looked again at how the Ständerat might turn out, I can’t imagine that SP will stand again in SG and those votes will not go to Brunner which is good (FDP voters have to decide well here), as for Zürich Blocher has no chance! Bets please……..My 2 votes in Zürich will be for GLP & FDP

    • swisswatching October 26, 2011 at 7:27 am · Reply

      Sadly you’re wrong about St Gallen. Both the CVP and SP are putting candidates into the second round, which makes it more than likely that Toni Brunner will sail through the middle. Bad move from the other parties. But I think you’re right that Blocher has no chance in Zurich. As for Bern, I guess Amstutz will make it.

      • Fergus Miller October 26, 2011 at 7:40 am · Reply

        Oh I didn’t see that coming from SP in SG I wonder why SP go into the 2nd round when they have no chance of winning?….that is sad

      • Fergus Miller November 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm · Reply

        Paul Rechsteiner in SG………….what a fantastic surprise! Amstutz & Brunner are having a bad year! As the papers say its the end of the Blocher era, he even came 3rd in his home council! Go SP!

        • swisswatching November 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm · Reply

          Good results for the SP in Bern and St Gallen! Am in Spain until Saturday so any real comment from me will have to wait til next week, Fergus!

          • Fergus Miller November 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm ·

            Look forward to your comment Diccon – I am sure the last results surprised you……..they surprised me!
            Have a nice time in Spain.
            Regards
            Fergus

  9. Fergus Miller November 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm · Reply

    And another thing isn’t it funny how when SVP do well the rest of the worlds media can’t write enough about it……..Diccon can you please show me how the mainstream British Press has covered SP doing so well at moment in CH?

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