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24 October 2011

Swiss voters abandon anti-immigrant party, dive for the center

The Associated Press  (USA newswire)

Sunday 23 October 2011

Nationalists Lose Ground 

in Swiss Vote

BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss voters backed moderate parties in their general election on Sunday, and the nationalist Swiss People’s Party lost ground after mounting a campaign heavy on anti-immigrant sentiment.
 
The nationalists were projected to take 25.9 percent of the vote for the lower house, a drop from four years ago, according to projections from the public television station SF early Monday.

On the left, the Green Party also suffered a surprising setback, taking 7.9 percent of the vote. Both the People’s Party and the Greens were projected to lose seats in Switzerland’s lower chamber, the 200-member National Council.

The results halted 20 years of steady growth by the People’s Party in parliamentary elections, which are held every four years. The party, which drew just 11 percent of the vote in 1987, rose to capture 28.9 percent in 2007, while support eroded for two of the major center-right parties, the Free Democrats and the Christian Democrats.

Two other centrist parties — the Conservative Democrats, who split from the People’s Party in 2007, and the Green Liberal Party — were the beneficiaries of the nationalists’ decline. The Green Liberals in particular rode a wave of antinuclear sentiment stoked by the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan in March.
 
The number of political parties in Switzerland makes for intense haggling after every election, as each group demands fair representation in the country’s seven-member cabinet, which governs by consensus despite the sometimes widely differing views of its members.

Despite its setback, the People’s Party won the most votes, and it immediately laid claim to two seats in the cabinet, whose ministers run federal agencies and take turns serving as president for a year.

The party’s campaign warned that immigrants were spoiling a nation that has been an oasis of stability. Almost one in five residents of Switzerland was born elsewhere, one of the highest proportions in Europe. 

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1 comment:

patfromch said...

For weeks this country was literally plastered with these posters prior to the election and I am not joking when I say plastered. They were almost everywhere. One time on my way to work I counted more than ten from door to door:
http://www.zoonar.com/photo/wahlkampf-in-der-schweiz_2744405.html
(The poster simply says Stop Mass Immigration). A student of graphic design and / or political history will shudder because of the implications.
The background history behind the poster is that due to a special deal with the EU which allows simplyfied entry to CH for EU members the SPP claims that we have been flooded with cheap workers (especially from Germany) who destroy our wages, rents and infrastructure. Or so they claim. It is estimated that the party spent more on PR election than all other parties combined. And still they failed.
This article is well balanced but one thing has to be mentioned. This was an election. Because the PPS lacks prominent figures, pundits and talking heads that could be put up on posters. So they had to resort to a general subject which has nothing to do with a National Election for both chambers.
Things will look rather different when we are talking about initiatives.
On a personal level I was mighty glad to see the Green Liberals win seats, the old leftie punk in me was rather glad to see the GLP win seats on the cost of the PPS.
Thes were elections and the right wing lost. Things will look very different when we will go to the polls and be asked about new immigration laws, new fighter planes and other subjects where the PPS will be able to popularize the subjects to a level of non-debate but gut-feeling and mobilize the masses. That is what is worrying me, apart from that I was pleased with the elctiona sna see the left, greenies and moderate middle win seats on the cost of a ruthless, mind-numbing right wing propaganda machinery fuelled with money, hatred and the simple assumption that the swiss might be dumb enough to buy into this. Luckily, they were not, at least this time around.