Rightwing holds lead in election countdown

The People's Party (dark green) is still leading the polls swissinfo.ch

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party is maintaining its lead in the opinion polls ahead of October’s parliamentary elections.

This content was published on September 6, 2003 - 08:46

A sizeable minority of the electorate - 30 per cent - would like to see a redistribution of the cabinet seats in favour of the People’s Party.

The results of the latest poll, carried out by the Bern-based GfS research institute, give the People’s Party a 26 per cent share of the vote – the same level as the last poll taken in July.

But support for the Social Democrats has dropped slightly (down 1.4 per cent), with 22 per cent of those polled saying they would vote for the centre-left party in October.

Both the centre-right parties in government, the Radicals and the Christian Democrats, have made slight gains among the electorate.

The level of support for the Radical stands at 20 per cent – up one per cent from July; 15 per cent say they will vote for the Christian Democrats – up 0.7 per cent.

Heatwave

The main surprise perhaps in the latest survey is the support for the Green Party.

It is up from five to six per cent – the highest level since opinion polls for October’s election started in autumn last year.

The GfS research institute says the boost in support could well be down to the weather over the last couple of months, with the heatwave re-igniting the debate over global warming and climate change.

And for the first time, the environment features among the top five issues the Swiss are concerned about in the run up to the election.

Magic Formula

Although the poll also shows overwhelming support (80 per cent) for the so-called “Magic Formula” – the system by which cabinet seats are allocated to the country’s four major parties – there is a large minority that says it is in favour of changing the composition of the government.

Since 1959 the Social Democrats, the Radicals and the Christian Democrats have each had two cabinet seats, with just one going to the People’s Party.

While 38 per cent of those polled said they were in favour of maintaining status quo, 30 per cent said they would like to see the People’s Party being given an extra seat – probably at the expense of the Christian Democrats.

The poll was conducted among 2,000 people over a 15-day period in August by the GfS research institute on behalf of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and three national newspapers.

swissinfo

In brief

Some 52% of those questioned said they would vote in next month’s election.

According to the poll the five major electoral issues are unemployment and the economy (33%), pensions (32%), asylum (26%), health (18%) and the environment (14%).

Support for the parties in government: People’s Party 26%, Social Democrats 22%, Radicals 20%, Christian Democrats 15%

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