The Parliamentary and Executive Elections in Switzerland, 2011

Mueller, Sean and Dardanelli, Paolo (2013) The Parliamentary and Executive Elections in Switzerland, 2011. Electoral Studies, 32 (1). pp. 197-201. ISSN 0261-3794. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2012.10.004

Abstract

Although less dramatic than the previous contest, the 2011 federal elections marked a significant turning point for Switzerland. The growth of the extremes, which had dominated Swiss politics over the last twenty years, has come to an end and two new parties have established themselves at the centre of the political spectrum. The right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC, hereafter SVP), which had grown relentlessly since the early 1990s, lost ground for the first time while the Greens, the other rising star of Swiss politics, suffered a major defeat. Both parties lost support primarily to start-ups that had broken away from their own ranks and moved to a more centrist position. The traditional centrist parties – the Liberal-Radicals (FDP/PLR, hereafter FDP) and the Christian Democrats (CVP/PDC, hereafter CVP) – continued their decline, while the Socialists (SPS/PSS, hereafter SPS) managed to increase their tally of seats despite a slight loss of support. The SPS was the main winner in the elections for the upper house, where the new centrist parties also gained representation at the expenses of both the CVP and the FDP. The elections for the collegial executive saw all incumbents re-elected and the post left vacant by the socialist minister Calmy-Rey filled by a fellow socialist, thus denying a second seat to the SVP. The results paint a picture of reduced polarisation but higher fragmentation, marking a return to the more consensual style that characterised Swiss politics from the late 1950s to the mid-1990s. This bodes well for the stability of the country's institutions, which had been shaken by the polarising ascent of the SVP, and is likely to lead to a high(er) degree of continuity in public policy making over the next four years.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Switzerland, elections, parliament, parties, National Council, Council of States
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Paolo Dardanelli
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2012 11:38
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2013 09:37
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/31832 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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