New Swiss Senate is complete

The Swiss Senate has 46 seats. SRF-SWI

The last three cantons have filled the remaining four seats in the Swiss Senate following Sunday's run-off elections.

This content was published on November 24, 2019 - 14:32

In Aargau, voters chose the centre-right Radical-Liberal Party’s Thierry Burkart and the conservative right Swiss People’s Party’s Hansjörg Knecht, a seat previously held by the left-wing Social Democrats in that canton.

Maya Graf of the leftwing Green Party will represent canton Basel Country in the Senate for the next four years. Her election brings the total of number of Green senators up to five, compared with four in the 2015 elections. It also brings the total number of women in the Senate to 12, a record high.

In Schwyz, the remaining seat went to Othmar Reichmuth of the centrist Christian Democrats. With 13 seats, this party remains the strongest in the Senate.

Most Swiss cantons send two representatives to the Senate, which has 46 members. The six so-called half cantons have one seat each.

House of Representatives

The cantons had already elected parliamentarians to represent them in the House of Representatives, which has 200 seats.

The much smaller Senate is organised to a lesser extent along party-political lines but represents the interests of the cantons. Yet the Senate and the House have the same powers.

Adoption of a law, for instance, needs approval by both chambers and they meet for a joint session to elect the government ministers.

The October 20 parliamentary elections resulted in landslide gains for Green parties and caused a shock for the political right and the left in Switzerland as they both lost seats in the House of Representatives. It was also a historic result for women who increased their representation by 10% to a record 42%. 

The new parliament will meet for its first session on December 2.

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