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Electoral Barometer 2017 Switzerland remains an island of political stability

Sala del Consiglio  nazionale

Faces may change but political forces remain extremely stable in Bern

(Keystone / Anthony Anex)

While the political situation in Switzerland’s neighbouring countries has changed radically in recent months, the balance of power between the main Swiss parties remains broadly stable halfway through the current legislative period. 

The Greens, Liberal Greens (centrist) and Radicals (centre-right) have slightly increased their voters share, while the Social Democrats (left), the Christian Democrats (centrist) and the Swiss People’s Party (conservative right) have lost a bit of ground, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s (SBC) Electoral Barometer 2017, published on Thursday. 

Many European countries regularly see large swings in support among the main national parties. This has already been the case this year in France, Germany and Austria, where parliamentary elections drastically changed the political landscape. 

In Switzerland, on the other hand, the electoral barometer, carried out for the SBC by the University of Zurich’s Sotomo research group between September 28 and October 2, found there were only small voting variations among the 14,063 people questioned across the country.

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Graphique sur la force des partis

Main parties in Swiss parliament

The survey confirms to a large extent the trend of cantonal elections over the past two years. Since the start of the current legislative period in 2015, almost half the 26 cantons have renewed their parliaments. These elections have also seen slight progress for the Radicals, the Greens and the Liberal Greens at the expense of the People’s Party, the Christian Democrats and the Conservative Democratic party. 

The only exception is the Social Democratic Party, which has managed to make gains in cantonal elections while losing ground in the electoral barometer. 

Swiss political stability was also confirmed by the weak rate of voter fluctuation, with the vast majority of voters staying faithful to their parties: 87% of respondents said they would stick with the choice that they made two years ago. 

As for the issues that most concern voters, migration and asylum remain at the top, considered the most pressing issues by 21% of people asked. These were followed by health policy, especially increases in health insurance premiums (20%), social insurance (17%), the environment and the climate (13%), the employment market (8%), the political system (5%) and the economy (4%).

Adapted from Italian by Thomas Stephens

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