Incumbents reign, Greens emerge empty-handed in latest Senate race

Hans Stöckli from the Social Democratic Party held onto his Senate seat representing canton Bern. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Incumbents held on to many seats in the six cantons with Senate races on Sunday. The biggest upset came in canton Ticino, which elected its first female senator in a narrow defeat over a veteran senator.

This content was published on November 17, 2019 - 17:01

Green Party candidate Regula Rytz, who made a splash in the October 20 elections, came up short for the Senate seat in canton Bern on Sunday. The canton elected incumbent Hans Stöckli from the Social Democratic Party and Werner Salzmann from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, regaining the party’s seat lost to the Conservative Democratic Party 11 years ago.

While the Greens didn’t take home seats on Sunday, they have shown the greatest gains in the Senate of all the parties taking home three additional seats thus far.

In one of the biggest upsets, Marina Carobbio of the Social Democratic Party defeated veteran senator Filippo Lombardi from the Christian Democratic Party, who was up for his sixth consecutive term. This makes Carobbio, who won by 45 votes, the first woman to be elected to the Senate in Ticino.

The People's Party took home the other Senate seat in Ticino for the first time.

In the other four cantons that voted on Sunday, the incumbents came out on top.

In Zurich, Ruedi Noser from the Radical Liberal Party retained his seat to join Daniel Jositsch from the Social Democrats, who was one of seven candidates for the Senate elected in the first round.

The Christian Democratic Party defended one seat in St Gallen, helping the centrist party hold on to its majority in the Senate at least for now. Beside Benedikt Würth, the imcumbent Social Democrat Paul Rechsteiner was also re-elected.  

In Solothurn, Social Democrat Roberto Zanetti held on to his seat in the Senate, joining Pirmin Bischof from the centrist Christian Democrats who was re-elected in the first round.

Canton Zug will be represented by a combo of the Christian Democratic Party and Radical Liberal Party, which has been the case for 50 years. Matthias Michel from the Radicals joins Peter Hegglin who won on October 20.

Last round

The last four seats in the Senate will be decided next weekend when cantons Aargau, Schwyz and Basel Country hold their second-round voting.

A week ago, the Radicals landed a surprise in canton Fribourg with Johanna Gapany at the expense of the Christian Democrats, while the Social Democrats lost a Senate seat to the Greens in canton Vaud.  

In cantons Geneva and Valais, the run-off elections to the Senate confirmed the status-quo. 

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