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Greens get public backing for cabinet seat

The Green Party has been garnering more and more votes recently


A majority of Swiss would like to see a representative of the Green Party join the government after next year's parliamentary elections, according to a survey.

The poll, published in three newspapers on Sunday, also revealed that Justice Minister Christoph Blocher and Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin are the least popular members of cabinet.

More than half of those polled said that the centre-left Greens should be represented in the government if they improve their standing in parliament in 2007. Forty per cent of voters were against the idea.

The survey, published by Le Matin Dimanche, Sonntagsblick and Il Caffè, polled 1,003 people from each of Switzerland's three main language regions. Support for the Greens was strongest in the French-speaking part of the country, with 68 per cent of those polled in favour of a minister for the ecologists.

Lausanne's popular Green mayor, Daniel Brelaz, has often been touted as a potential cabinet minister. Asked by Le Matin if he was interested in the job, he said he was available.

The Greens could very well earn more seats in parliament at the next elections. They are the only mainstream party to have won voter support, garnering nine per cent in the poll, up one-and-a-half points.

This confirms the Greens' electoral success at local and cantonal elections in recent months according to their president, Ruth Genner, and lends more weight to their ambitions. "We want to be part of the cabinet," Genner told the Sonntagsblick.


The four government parties have on the other hand stagnated or lost some ground.

The rightwing People's Party remains Switzerland's strongest political force, with just over a quarter of voter intentions – down one per cent. The centre-left Social Democrats remain in close contact with a virtually unchanged changed 23 per cent, while the centre-right Radicals and Christian Democrats seem to have halted their slide.

Asked which cabinet ministers they would keep after the elections, voters were happy to retain five of the seven. The Christian Democrats' sole representative, Doris Leuthard, came out best in the poll, with a 75 per cent approval rating.

The new economics minister is followed by the Social Democrat foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and the People's Party defence minister, Samuel Schmid, both with an approval rating of 69 per cent.

Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger, the other Social Democrat, is close behind, while the Radical head of the finance ministry, Hans-Rudolf Merz, makes the cut with 57 per cent in favour of keeping him.

The People's Party's second representative, Blocher, is given a black eye by voters, with only 42 per cent wanting him back. But worst off in this poll is the Radical Couchepin, with less than one in three voters saying he should stay.

swissinfo with agencies

Government, ministers, president

The Swiss government consists of a cabinet (also known as the Federal Council) made up of seven ministers (federal councillors), each of whom ...

In brief

The first regional chapter of the Green Party was founded in 1971 in western Switzerland to challenge the construction of a motorway.

In 1979 the first Green Party representative was elected to the federal parliament.

The Green Party is represented with 22 different groups in 19 cantons.

Over the past few years the party won increasing support among voters in cities and major towns across the country.

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Key facts

Federal government: No seat
Federal parliament: 12 out of 246 seats
Share of votes 2003 parliamentary elections: 7.3%
Cantonal parliaments (2005): 167 out of 2,758 seats, up 35 since 2004

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