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Switzerland Election Results Reflect Shift in Political Priorities

Cam Speck



Switzerland, in its recent parliamentary elections, saw a notable rise in support for the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), according to exit polls and early projections. This reflects a broader trend seen across Europe, where right-wing factions are gaining traction in various countries.

Exit Poll Findings

  • The right-wing Swiss People’s Party is set to secure around 29% of the national vote, marking an increase of nearly 3.5% from the last election held four years ago.
  • The Greens, despite their historic gains in 2019, are predicted to witness a decline in support, slipping under 10%.
  • The Socialists showed modest growth, increasing their vote share by nearly 0.5 percentage points.
  • The Center, a new political alliance formed from the fusion of the center-right Christian Democrat and Bourgeois Democrat parties in 2021, made its first appearance this election. Initial data suggests it could surpass the free-market Liberal Party in popularity.

Key Issues Dominating the Election

  • Financial Concerns: This election cycle saw economic factors taking precedence over global environmental issues. With rising inflation affecting even the affluent Swiss society, pocketbook concerns dominated the minds of many. This was evident from the exit polls and from personal accounts of voters like Claudine Juillard, who highlighted the escalating costs of living. 
  • Climate Change: While concerns regarding the environment, especially the receding glaciers in Switzerland, remain significant, they were overshadowed by other pressing issues this election. Marine Chatelenat, a teacher, emphasized the critical nature of climate concerns and how they should be the primary focus. 
  • Migration and Immigration: With the SVP’s campaign focusing heavily on immigration controls and protectionist measures, this topic has been at the forefront of the political discourse. The party’s push to cap the population and its controversial social media campaigns have sparked intense debates. Their proposals resonated with many Swiss nationals, reflecting broader anxieties about migration.

The Political Landscape of Switzerland

Switzerland’s unique positioning as a neutral country, not part of the European Union but surrounded by it, continues to shape its political and socio-economic environment. This election will influence the future composition of the Swiss executive branch, especially the seven-member Federal Council. President Alain Berset, who will step down by the end of the year, is set to be succeeded by Vice President Viola Amherd, a representative from the centrist faction.

Regarding international relations, Switzerland has historically balanced its principles of Western democracy with its commitment to neutrality. Recent instances include aligning with the EU in sanctioning Russia over the Ukraine conflict. Presently, the Federal Council is contemplating whether to join the EU and the U.S. in designating the Palestinian group Hamas as a terror organization. More information about this can be found at EU External Action.

Additionally, Switzerland employs two primary mechanisms to guide its governance: parliamentary votes and frequent referendums. These referendums serve as crucial decision-making tools, directing the parliament in its legislative activities.

Reflection of a Larger European Trend

The Swiss election results mirror a wider European phenomenon where right-wing parties are gaining momentum. For instance, Italy’s prime minister hails from a party with neofascist origins, and far-right factions in Finland and Sweden are influencing their respective governments. This shift reflects the evolving political priorities and concerns of the European populace.

Domestic Implications

In the domestic realm, Switzerland’s new political landscape could prompt a re-evaluation of policies across various sectors: 

  • Healthcare: The rising fees associated with Switzerland’s free-market-based health insurance system might be subject to review, with potential reforms to make healthcare more affordable for the general populace. 
  • Economic Policies: Given the economic concerns that dominated this election, we could anticipate measures to combat inflation, stimulate economic growth, and ensure financial stability. 
  • Environmental Initiatives: Despite the overshadowing of environmental concerns during the election, Switzerland remains a country deeply impacted by climate change, particularly its retreating glaciers. There may still be increased investments in sustainable projects and policies targeting carbon neutrality. 
  • Migration Control: With the SVP’s pronounced emphasis on migration and its associated challenges, Switzerland could adopt stricter immigration policies and regulations, potentially affecting its international reputation and relations with neighboring countries.


The Swiss parliamentary elections have showcased the changing priorities of its citizens, with economic concerns and migration taking precedence over environmental issues. This shift in focus is not just limited to Switzerland but is indicative of a broader trend across Europe. The implications of this election will shape the Swiss political discourse and legislative actions in the coming years, impacting both domestic policies and international relations.

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