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The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) scored one of its best results ever in national elections, capitalizing on a campaign that stressed concerns over immigration and other domestic issues, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The SVP won 28.6 percent of votes in Sunday’s election, up from 25.6 percent four years ago, surpassing expectations and nearly matching its 2015 record of 29.4 percent.
The Social Democrats (SP) came a distant second and the Center Alliance took third place over the pro-business Free Democrats. Switzerland’s two Green parties reversed most of the gains they made in 2019.
Still, there isn’t likely to be a shift in Switzerland’s executive because the seven-seat government is not formed by a coalition or outright majority, but is a compact between the largest parties.
Ministers will be elected by lawmakers on Dec. 13 – and the centrists have already announced that they will not challenge sitting members, Politico said.
The SVP’s win translates into nine additional seats in the 200-member lower house, bringing its total to 62.
The elections, meanwhile, highlighted how the SVP has become the country’s most popular party, mainly due to its focus on immigration and the economy. The SVP wants to limit the country’s population to 10 million people, saying that the country can’t handle a larger population, especially in terms of housing.
The party also wants to enshrine the country’s traditional neutrality – despite calls to respond more forcefully to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and to cap the costs of the switch to sustainable energy.
Still, the outcome of the parliamentary election is much less of a determinant for future policy in Switzerland compared with other countries, as initiatives and referendums, held several times a year, give voters a say on everything from corporate tax to immigration.