The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Political scientist sees right-wing slide despite left-wing voting success

The SVP achieved some significant seat gains in the cantonal council elections in St. Gallen, Schwyz and Uri. For political geographer Michael Hermann, it is clear that the conservative trend of the 2023 national elections has continued in the cantons. Even though the Swiss electorate supported the left-wing proposal for a 13 AHV pension on the same day.

"The SVP tended to win more and the FDP to lose more than in the national elections," Michael Hermann, head of the Sotomo research center, commented to the Keystone-SDA news agency on the elections for the cantonal parliaments in St. Gallen, Schwyz and Uri. The SVP gained seven seats in St. Gallen, five in Schwyz and one in Uri. Commenting on the FDP, which lost four seats in Uri and elsewhere, the political geographer said: "It is clear that the liberals are on the defensive."

This picture also includes the fact that the FDP in Glarus had to fear for its second seat in the government, according to Hermann. In the battle to succeed the outgoing mayor Benjamin Mühlemann (FDP), FDP candidate Roger Schneider was well behind the centrist candidate Daniela Bösch-Widmer and SVP representative Thomas Tschudi. In Basel-Stadt, on the other hand, the FDP candidate was also behind in the first round of voting for the cantonal council elections.

According to the political geographer, the Greens suffered less severe losses in the three cantons than was the case nationally in 2023. However, it should be borne in mind that the "green wave" has always been less pronounced in the three cantons than at national level.

GLP establishes itself in rural cantons

Overall, the trend in St. Gallen, Schwyz and Uri also confirms that Switzerland is hardly becoming more left-wing in terms of party politics. "It is clear that on a day when the left achieved a historic success with the 13th AHV initiative, at least the three cantons have seen a shift to the right," says Hermann.

The elections also showed that the GLP is becoming more and more established in rural cantons. Hermann refers in this regard to the cantonal council of Uri, where the GLP won three seats at the first attempt.

The election of centrist candidate Céline Huber to the Uri government, in which previously only men had been represented, also fits into the overall national picture. Recently, there has been a series of elections in which centrist women have done well in executive office.

©Keystone/SDA

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