Swiss Federal Elections: October 2019

Swiss flagYesterday, Switzerland elected a new lower house of the federal parliament, the Conseil National.  This has, since 1963, been composed of 200 seats, apportioned among the cantons based upon their population.  Elections are held every four years, with all seats in play.  Elections are by a curious proportional representation scheme called “panachage”, about which you can read more at the link if you haven’t filled your quota of confusion for the day.

The results were a substantial shift to the left, with the Green Party and its splinter faction the Green Liberal Party both gaining largely at the expense of conservative and centre-right parties.  Here is the makeup of the new Conseil National.

Conseil National: Swiss election 2019-10-20

The largest single party remains the UDC (Swiss People’s Party), which is a conservative party inclined toward immigration restriction and opposed to international engagement, globalism, and the European Union; it is traditionally the party of farmers and small business.  The UDC lost 12 seats in the election, reducing its delegation to 53 members.  The PS (Social Democratic Party, or Swiss Socialist Party) lost four seats, as did the PLR (FDP.The Liberals), which despite its name is a centre-right party identified with big business.  The PDC (Christian Democratic People’s Party), considered centrist to centre-right, but with a tradition of Catholic social justice and strongest in rural German-speaking regions, lost three seats.

The Green Party picked up 17 seats, expanding their delegation from 11 to 28, while the Green Liberal Party, which split from the Green party in 2007 and advocates an environmentalist agenda without all of the watermelon commie economics of the Greens, gained 9 seats, for a total of 16.  If you combine the Green and Green Liberal delegations, totalling 44 seats, they are the second largest party in the legislature after the UDC.

Here is the national vote by parties.

Swiss federal election 2019-10-20: conseil national vote by parties

Once again, if we combine the Green and Green Liberal electorates, they add to 21%, second to the UDC with 25.6%.

The upper house, the Conseil d’Etats, in which each canton is represented by two members, is also up for election.  Of the 46 seats, 24 were elected yesterday, but 22 remain undecided, with no candidate receiving a majority in the canton.  Composition of the upper house will have to await the results of the second round of elections next month.

For additional details in English, here is an article in Swissinfo.

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Author: John Walker

Founder of Ratburger.org, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of www.fourmilab.ch.

11 thoughts on “Swiss Federal Elections: October 2019”

  1. What is it with Europe and the Greens? Like a lot of bad things, it was started by the Germans. They sure are attracted to authoritarianism.

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  2. drlorentz:
    What is it with Europe and the Greens?  Like a lot of bad things, it was started by the Germans.

    I don’t know.

    The whole “Lebensreform” back-to-nature movement dates to the start of the 20th century in Germany and Switzerland, and in Germany segued into the “Blut und Boden” ideology in the 1930s.  It may be the ground was fertile for such ideas to re-emerge in a different context, especially to the extent they were congruent with other priorities of the Left.

    What worries me is not the size of the movement in Switzerland but the first derivative.  In 2015, the combined Green parties polled 11.7% of the electorate and this time they almost doubled that to 21%.  And this was without any obvious precipitating event which might have motivated voters in that direction.  I wonder if what we’re seeing might be young people entering the electorate who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the Green mythology from childhood and find their natural home voting for the Greens.  If this be the case, it’s going to be difficult to turn around.  Things are happening quickly (at least from a Swiss perspective): the Socialist party was founded in 1888, and was just out-polled by the two Green factions combined, the oldest of which dates only from 1971 (and which elected its first member to the Conseil National in 1979) by more than 4%.

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  3. John Walker:
    What worries me is not the size of the movement in Switzerland but the first derivative.  In 2015, the combined Green parties polled 11.7% of the electorate and this time they almost doubled that to 21%.

    OK  but some of the gains were made by the non-watermelon greenies, right? I see that as a more benign trend. That said, the green fever that’s sweeping across Europe is worrisome, mostly for Europeans.

    It’s been my long-held and fond hope that Europe would circle the drain in ever-decreasing circles to serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of humanity: a kind of accelerationism by proxy. I realize that this could backfire if the contagion spreads to other places instead of inoculating them. On the other hand, what better alternative do we have?

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  4. drlorentz:
    Reviving a joke from BDB:

    Say what you will about Switzerland but at least their flag is a big plus.

    A joke like that is a cross which the Swiss must bare.

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  5. Disappointing, especially following on the heels of the vote to knuckle under to the EU on gun laws. The only slight solace I take is the existence of a “Green Liberal” party which sounds less totalitarian/Stalinist than all those I am aware of in the US. If those people eventually have their way, I can barely imagine the results.

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  6. The irony about the greens is that history clearly shows that if you want countries to care about the environment you need to make them really rich first.  So that means they are all for the free market at home and abroad right?

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  7. Dave:
    The irony about the greens is that history clearly shows that if you want countries to care about the environment you need to make them really rich first.  So that means they are all for the free market at home and abroad right?

    Dave, I am pretty sure they want a different type of green.

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  8. It remains to be seen whether the Greens (possibly as a coalition of the two factions) will seek and possibly win a seat on the seven-member Federal Council, among which the presidency rotates on an annual basis.  The party composition of the council is the subject of a consensus among the parties and changes only infrequently—the last reshuffle was in 2015, when the UDC gained a second seat.  If the Greens obtain a seat and hold it until that seat comes up in the rotation, its holder would be the first Green president of a developed country.

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