Switzerland: ¿Breaking the right majority?

In the coming parliamentary elections in Switzerland, the main expectation is a strengthening of green parties. Further, a weakening of the nationalist conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is expected. At least, this is the case for the National Council, the big chamber of the Swiss parliament, which is elected according to the system of proportional representation. In the Council of States, where the Swiss cantons are represented, no substantial changes are expected.

In the early stage of the election campaign, two movements from the street have dominated: The students’ climate strikes, present in many other countries, and the women’s strike of about 500’000 participants who demanded better pay for care work. For the first time since 1995, the SVP’s agenda setting does not play a dominant role. This is partly due to important party officials aiming at completely cut with the EU. In the latest popular votes, the Liberal Party (FDP) usually won more then all other parties, so that a new liberal political pole seems to have formed.

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However, due to the climate strikes, the simultaneous victories of the FDP in the regional elections were stopped 2019 in the most populous canton, Zurich. Ever since, the party is struggling to define its environmental policy, torn between an economically and an ecologically liberal position. Shortly before the political summer break, it decided to aim for more climate protection in order to counter competition from the political middle.

The Swiss left parties, consisting of the Social Democratic Party (SP) and the Greens, want to profit from the movements on the street in the coming fall elections. The prospects are somewhat better for the Greens than the Social Democrats. However, more important to both parties is breaking the right majority in the National Council with the help of their allies. Additionally, both left parties as well as the centrist Conservative Christian Party (CVP) want to raise the share of elected women in parliament to prevent, or at least socially cushion, the governments planned rise in women’s retirement age from 64 to 65 years.

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