Another day, another election in Switzerland

mouton.jpgIt looks like Switzerland’s electoral scene has undergone a slight change. Latest results from the federal elections – held once every four years – show that the rightwing People’s Party has reinforced its position as the country’s most influential party after running a controversial campaign, while the Greens have also posted gains. The centre-left Social Democrats have on the other hand taken a beating, especially in the German-speaking part of the country. One of the day’s consolation prizes for the Social Democrats was the election of the country’s first naturalised African parliamentarian, Ricardo Lumengo. The People’s Party president, Ueli Maurer, immediately suggested turfing out the three oldest members of the cabinet, although he avoided mentioning his boss’ name – justice minister Christoph Blocher who is already beyond the official retirement age. Some analysts and editorialists are saying its now time for the People’s Party to put up or shut up, ie make some concrete proposals other than bans. Others are warning though that the populist movement might find it hard to leave its comfort zone and get out of opposition mode.

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