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Geneva's government swings to the left

(Keystone)

Geneva's cantonal government has moved to the left of the political spectrum for the first time since 1933 following the election of four centre-left candidates.

Sunday's elections also saw the only woman in the seven-member executive, police chief Micheline Spoerri, lose her seat.

Two Social Democrats and two Green Party members were elected, leaving the centre-right parties – the Liberals, Christian Democrats and Radicals – with one seat each.

Observers say that the result is a big political change for the canton, which is currently facing budget problems and a serious housing shortage.

The governmental election comes one month after voters elected a majority centre-right cantonal parliament.

No women

While the Greens gained an extra seat on the executive on Sunday, the Liberal Party's Spoerri went home empty-handed.

Spoerri, who was in charge of Geneva's police force, came in for strong criticism in 2003 over her handling of disturbances during the G-8 summit of leading industrialised countries.

The summit took place in the nearby town of Evian in France, which was cordoned off to protestors. A march was held in Geneva, which, although mainly peaceful, included some violence.

"It's very regrettable for me and for the canton of Geneva to have a single-sex government," said Spoerri.

"During the G-8 summit in 2003 the media gave me an image which is absolutely not right."

The first woman was elected to the government in 1993 and Spoerri had been a member since 2001.

The total turnout for the vote was 45.89 per cent. During the last elections four years ago it was 43 per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

In the Geneva parliamentary elections on October 9, the centre-right parties emerged victorious.

The far-left parties were the main losers.

The centre-right now has 67 of the 100 seats in Geneva's cantonal parliament.

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Key facts

The elected cantonal government:
Pierre-François Unger, Christian Democrats (54,110 votes).
Robert Cramer, Green Party (53,705 votes).
David Hiler, Green Party (53,283 votes).
François Longchamp, Radicals (51,959 votes).
Charles Beer, Social Democrats (49,872 votes).
Mark Muller, Liberal Party (45,063 votes).
Laurent Moutinot, Social Democrats (43,928 votes).

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