“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction writer
We spend a lot of time discussing the world economy, investment options, tax, and so on in our Mountain Vision, but we have readers that remind us to occasionally give some insight on what is happening in Switzerland.
Since Switzerland isn’t a regular on the national news no matter where you might be, we thought a recent vote provided a good opportunity to share some Swiss news.
A few weeks ago, the Swiss people elected their representatives into the Swiss Parliament, and it turned into a victory for the more conservative parties of Switzerland.
The Swiss federal government has confirmed a dominant performance in legislative elections by a nationalist party that seized on widespread concerns about mass migration in Europe, marking a shift to the political right.
Official results released Monday showed that the anti-immigration “Swiss People’s Party” collected 29.4 percent of the vote, an increase of nearly 3 percentage points from the previous election to the lower house of parliament, the National Council, in 2011.
The Social Democrats were a distant second, virtually unchanged at 18.8 percent. The pro-business Free Democrats increased by 1.3 percentage points to 16.4 percent.
Turnout was 48.4 percent. Analysts cited voter fatigue for that relatively low figure.
Here’s a compendium of excerpts to bring you up-to-date on the shift to the right, not to mention Swiss voting in general. Hopefully, this vote will translate into less bureaucracy, a simpler tax system or simply less regulations. Frankly, we doubt it. The administrative state monster is as cancerous in Switzerland as it is elsewhere. And, in line with Heinlein’s quote, the lines are not clearly drawn. Some conservatives appear as keen on big government as their socialist politician colleagues.
But then, there is always hope…
Swiss Parliament Shifts to the Right
Switzerland’s two main parties on the right are the winners of the Swiss parliamentary elections. The strong showing could have an impact on reforms of energy, social security and tax issues, as well as the make-up of the seven-member government.
Shift to the right not as clear-cut as it seems
The shift to the right in the Swiss parliament is unlikely to have a huge impact, according to political scientist Marc Bühlmann. Following the elections, parties on the right now form an absolute majority in the House of Representatives. Will this translate into true and much needed reforms?
The Swiss Federal Election, 2015
Federal elections were held in Switzerland on 18 October 2015 for the National Council and the first round of elections to the Council of States. Provisional results show a shift, due to voter concerns regarding refugee immigration, to the right and increased support for the three largest parties, with the strong showing of Swiss People’s Party and FDP. The Liberals possibly having an impact on future reforms of energy, social security and tax issues, as well as the make-up of the seven-member government. The Swiss People’s Party won a record number of seats, taking a third of the 200-seat lower house.
Voting in Switzerland
Voting in Switzerland (called votation) is the process by which Swiss citizens make decisions about governance and elect officials. The polling stations are opened on Sunday mornings but most people vote by post in advance (Abstimmungssonntag in German); at noon on that day, voting ends and the results are usually known at the end of the afternoon.
Switzerland’s voting system is unique among modern democratic nations in that Switzerland practices direct democracy in parallel with representative democracy. That’s why the Swiss system is called semi-direct democracy. Direct democracy allows any citizen may challenge any law approved by the parliament or, at any time, propose a modification of the federal Constitution. In addition, in most cantons all votes are cast using paper ballots that are manually counted. At the federal level, voting can be organized for:
- Elections (election of the Federal Assembly)
- Mandatory referendums (votation on a modification of the constitution made by the Federal Assembly)
- Optional referendums (referendum on a law accepted by the Federal Assembly and that collected 50’000 signatures of opponents)
- Federal popular initiatives (votation on a modification of the constitution made by citizens and that collected 100’000 signatures of supporters)