Switzerland has voted!

Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2019-10-20 19:19 Updated on UTC 2019-10-21

Today's Swiss parliamentary election has now concluded.

One thing that has to be said for the Swiss is that they know how to run an election. Half the votes are already in by election day. On the day itself, voting closes at noon, the first results come in at two, first full estimate at four, done and dusted at six.

Whether they know which way to vote or not, despite a lifetime of frequent practice, is another matter.

FoS image, size 708x512

Seats on the National Council. Image: SRF/gfs.bern.

As expected, no landslides, but plenty of slight trembles for the media to write and talk about. For those with detail minds, the comprehensive results are in all the Swiss media (for example here). Let us instead stand back and take the broad view.

With our various pieces on the march of greenery in Switzerland still fresh in our minds, we can report that greenery did indeed march on at this election: the biggest winners in the election are the Green Party and the Green Liberal Party. Our recent mockery of the GLP fantasies clearly impressed no one – apart from its author, that is.

As we also expected, the largest party, the 'right-wing' SVP, seems to have struggled with its increasingly grumpy image, losing a number of seats, some of them surprising losses. They are still the largest single party, but can now be much more easily outmanoeuvred by groupings of other green-red parties.

FoS image, size 708x521

Change in seats on the National Council. Image: SRF/gfs.bern.

The Socialist Party (SP) suffered losses, which was surprising because they, too, have a seriously green manifesto programme. Several Swiss commentators suspect that the party is getting a bit long in the tooth and cannot keep up with the young, modern and innovative tone of the two green parties with their young staff. This was a conclusion we also drew from the SP's staid web presence. The Greens and the Green Liberals are clearly attracting the smart young people to turn out to campaign and vote for them. The SVP, in contrast, is not.

We Neanderthals may think that the Green message is childish bunkum, but it seems to be popular and attractive bunkum in the Gretaceous Epoch in which we live. This election more than doubled the number of seats of each of the green parties in the National Council, taking them from being a minor nuisance to being a force to be reckoned with. Not only an electoral force, but a moral force.

But let's not forget the caveat we must issue for every election – even Swiss ones. The turnout for the election was 45.1%, which means that more than half of the Swiss electorate couldn't be bothered to vote. This is a surprising level of disaffection in what is supposed to be a model democracy. Make of it what you will.

Update 21.10.2019

The charts of forecasted results in the initial version of this article have been replaced with charts of the final results. The text has been slightly edited to reflect the definitive figures.