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Racing Greens?

Here are five far-from-in-the-bag Senate races. Like a Champions League qualifying group, only the top two go through.

Zurich – Can controversial People’s Party figurehead Christoph Blocher – deselected from the cabinet in 2007 – knock out either Verena Diener from the Green Liberals or Felix Gutzwiller from the Radicals? Probably not – his combined enemies are stronger than his friends – although the 71-year-old billionaire should succeed in getting into the House of Representatives.

16.44 UPDATE: Diener finished ahead of Gutzwiller who finished ahead of Blocher, but no candidate has achieved an absolute majority. The run-off will take place on November 27.

Bern – Can Werner Luginbühl – one of only two Conservative Democrat senators – beat off challenges from the Greens and Social Democrats in the second-biggest canton? Could be close. Adrian Amstutz’s seat looks safe for the People’s Party.

14.54 UPDATE: Luginbühl 45%, Amstutz 45%, Hans Stöckli (Social Democrats) 40%, Alec von Graffenried (Greens) 33%.

St Gallen – People’s Party President Toni Brunner is having another pop at the Senate. A Radical incumbent is standing down, but former cabinet minister candidate Karin Keller-Sutter should be able to defend the seat for the Radicals.

16.05 UPDATE: Keller-Sutter has been elected. Brunner and incumbent Christian Democrat Eugen David will have to face a run-off at the end of November.

Aargau – A battle of the heavyweights. The People’s Party are attempting an unusual manoeuvre: current senator Maximilian Reimann and current member of the House of Representatives Ulrich Giezendanner are aiming to swap chambers. Giezendanner is going to have to work hard to oust incumbent Radical Christine Egerszegi or challenger Pascale Bruderer from the Social Democrats, both former speakers of the House of Representatives. Bruderer gave birth to her first child eight days ago. Talk about sleepless nights…

14.56 UPDATE: Pascale Bruderer has won a seat in the Senate. This is the first Senate seat for the Social Democrats in Aargau for more than 60 years.

Ticino –  Human rights investigator and Radical senator Dick Marty – bête noire of Kosovars and Albanians – is standing down. His Radical replacement Fabio Abate could face a strong challenge from both the People’s Party and the Social Democrats. Filippo Lombardi looks like being re-elected for the Christian Democrats.

19.53 UPDATE: No candidate in Ticino got an absolute majority. Lombardi leads Abate, who is just ahead of Franco Cavalli and Sergio Morisoli.

“The Race”, a 1988 hit by Swiss electronica band Yello, is a fitting soundtrack to the election campaign.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR