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SVP wins second seat in the Glarus government

Updated at 24 Mar 2024 12:20 pm

The SVP secured a second seat in the five-member cantonal government in Glarnerland on Sunday and became the strongest governing party. Thomas Tschudi (SVP) narrowly beat Daniela Bösch-Widmer (center) in a by-election in the second round.

The difference between the two was just 74 votes. SVP Vice President and District Councillor Tschudi received 5167 votes. 5093 voters cast their ballots for Bösch-Widmer, the centrist district councillor. The voter turnout was 39.7 percent.

This is the first time that the People's Party has held two seats in the Glarus cantonal government since it was reduced to five members in 2006. In terms of party politics, the executive is now made up of two SVP members and one representative each from the FDP, the Center Party and the SP. The government has thus moved further to the right.

The FDP was unable to defend the seat of outgoing mayor Benjamin Mühlemann (FDP) in the election. Their candidate Roger Schneider was defeated by a wide margin after the first round of voting. Andrea Bettiga still represents the Free Democrats in the government.

Contested FDP votes

In the first round of voting three weeks ago, none of the candidates achieved an absolute majority. Bösch-Widmer, a 46-year-old special education teacher, received 319 more votes than the 45-year-old business economist Tschudi.

In the second round of voting, the relative majority counted. The decisive factor was how the FDP votes that had become available were distributed among the remaining candidates. Tschudi was expected to have an advantage, as FDP voters in Glarus are traditionally closer to the SVP than to the center.

"Happy that it was enough"

"We were able to secure the FDP votes to a certain extent, but not to the extent that could have been expected," said Tschudi in view of the close result after his election in an interview with the Keystone-SDA news agency. For the SVP as a political party, it was difficult to get 50 percent of the vote.

In the government, he had to get up an hour earlier than other members as a representative of the poles and perform well. In the end, he was "happy that it was enough", said Tschudi.

"I'm second, no matter how close it was," the defeated Bösch-Widmer told Keystone-SDA. It was clear to her that it would be close.

A recount of the votes is not planned in view of the extremely close result, explained Council Clerk Arpad Baranyi on request. A recount would only be carried out if there were signs of irregularities.

Landammann Mühlemann was elected to the Council of States in October 2023. For this reason, he will step down as a member of the cantonal government at the Landsgemeinde in May.

©Keystone/SDA

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