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Author Topic: Swiss Elections & Politics (18 October 2015)  (Read 71110 times)
parochial boy
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« Reply #325 on: July 14, 2017, 04:36:34 am »

A lot of it is from France, but also lots from Southern Europe (especially Portugal) and the Former Yugoslavia, and for every foreigner in Switzerland there is about one naturalised or second generation immigrant. In particular, given the 14 year time frame for naturalisation, the people arriving at the start of the century would have started to vote around 2014.

But yeah, I see your point, which is why I think immigration is just one factor at play (and Valais has only trended slightly left, it hasn't suddenly gone from being Texas to being San Francisco - those particular referenda were more the exception than the rule)
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parochial boy
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« Reply #326 on: August 04, 2017, 01:06:36 pm »

A couple of recent developments in Swiss politics to talk about:

Referendums on the 24th September
On the 24th September, three referenda are being held as follows:

1. The Prévoyance 2020 refoms - reforms being made to the Swiss pensions system. Lot's of things going on, but broadly it comes down to a slight rise in VAT and to AVS (social security) payments.

On the back of this there is a slight increase in the AVS pension payments to for the newly retired, and a reduction in LPP payments. It's too tricky to explain the Swiss retirement system, but simplifying it somewhat, AVS is the basic pension everyone gets and LPP is linked to contributions that are tied to your income.

It also raises the retirement age for women by one year and introduces a "flexible" retirement, where you can get a higher pension in return for working until you are older

2. Increase VAT to aid the financing of AVS - is basically part of the first question, but specifically relating to the increase in VAT

3. Food Security popular initiative - basically comes down to supporting sustainable and diversified food production.

Of the three, the two AVS/social security votes are going to be the really hot topics. The reforms are being proposed by the PS, supported by the Greens and the PDC; and on the flip side, they are opposed by both the right wing parties (UDC and PLR) on the basis that they amount to a rise in taxes; and by the radical left (POP, SolidaritéS and the unions) because of the raise in VAT, retirement ages and the reduction in LPP payments.

In many respects, the issue at hand has less to do with the reforms themselves, but more to do with the positions of the parties in the context of Swiss politics.

This is coming at a time where there has been an increasingly marked cleavage confronting the left (and the centre) with the right within the national parliament, both sides really need a win in order to consolidate their position.

For the PS, there is both the need to show that they have the balls to fight to protect the pension system and that they are the party that is most able to protect the welfare state/acquis sociaux.

At the same time, they have to avoid being outflanked on their left by the far-left parties (particularly in Romandie, where the far-left has a substantial influence and has been buoyed by the success that Mélenchon had in France), who are opposing the reforms. This is especially the case given the concessions that the PS had to make in bringing the PDC on board to get the reforms through parliament.

The PS itself has some divisions. The Geneva branch of the party are opposed to the reforms on the same basis as the far left - opposing the increase in retirement age for women and the raise in VAT as well as the decrease in the second pillar (contribution linked) pension payments

In contrast, on the right, the UDC, and especially the PLR need to bounce back from the defeat on RIE-III (the corporate tax reforms). Both parties have had pretty bad years at the ballot box so far (the UDC has lost across the board, and the PLR looked messy on the clean energy referendum). The PLR in particular, really needs to look like it is the leading upholder of the liberal economy; and is going to be desperate to give off the impression that it is still the natural part of government.

The UDC is very united on rejecting the referendum, somewhat at odds with it;s own agricultural base - as the farmer;s union have actually backed a Yes vote.

The PLR meanwhile, has some division. They are backing a no vote as they are generally ideologically oppsed to any intervention in the market, but some Francophone members are supporting the reforms, which have been supported by some Small Business organisations.

Replacement of Didier Burkhalter on the Federal Council
So far, focus on the replacement has largely centred on where the candidate comes from.

Ticino (Italian speaking) feel it is their turn, and have nominated one candidate, Ignazio Cassis (from the right wing of the party(

In French Switzerland - there is a bit of a fight between Vaud and Geneva as for who stands.

Geneva Conseiller d'Etat Pierre Maudet is standing. He is a moderate in the party, talking about issues such as inequality, which may put him at a handicap - as the PLR have moved right in recent years, and the even more right wing UDC are the largest party in parliament. In addition, there is a feeling that, if French Switzerland is to have any chance of having a candidate elected, it would need to be a woman.

On that basis, there are currently two women from Vaud who might stand: Isabelle Moret and Jacqueline De Quattro. However, the problem here is that Vaud already has a federal Councillor - the UDC's Guy Parmelin.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #327 on: August 24, 2017, 06:05:40 pm »

Three candidates then, are standing to replace Burkhalter on the Federal Council:

Isabelle Moret (from Vaud). Who is a national councillor and Vice-President of the French Swiss PLR. She comes from the pre-merger Radicals, and sits somewhat on the left of the party; although is seen as somewhat stuffy and bourgeois

Pierre Maudet (from Geneva). Current Geneva Conseiller d'État. He has never had any federal representation, so lacks somewhat of a profile on the federal scene, but has impressed with the way he has managed his campaign so far. Also a somewhat moderate figure, coming from the pre-merger Radicals; but has made the economy a focus of his campaign so far, and has also made ouvertures towards the UDC.

Ignazio Cassis (from Ticino). National Councillor and head of the PLR group in the federal parliament. Seen as effective in this role and well liked by fellow parliamentarians. Ticino also feel it is their turn to have a federal councillor. He comes from the right of the party, and the PS dislike him for the way he undermined the Prévoyance 2020 pension reforms

Cassis therefore very much the favourite, although it seems like it is more open that was expected a month or two ago.

Probably only one of Moret or Maudet will actually stand in the election, although potentially both could

In the September referenda, two opinion polls have come out so far:

On the Pension reforms, Tamedia have:

Yes - 40%
No - 53%

and GFS.bern have

Yes - 53%
No - 42%

So, typically schizophrenic polling as usual.

Both pollsters are showing similar levels of support on both sides of the language divide; and are showing a substantial lead for "Yes" in the Food Security vote.

Tamedia tabs

GFS.Bern tabs can be found here (including ones in a proper language).

« Last Edit: August 25, 2017, 07:29:21 am by parochial boy »Logged
parochial boy
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« Reply #328 on: September 10, 2017, 12:44:19 pm »

There are actually a couple more referendums going on in Switzerland this month - on the 17th of September, Sorvilier and Belprahon, two communes in the Francophone Jura Bernois district of the otherwise majority German speaking canton of Bern will vote on whether to join the Francophone canton of Jura.

This comes three months after the largest francophone town in the region*, Moutier, voted to join the Jura- in what was promised to be a definitive end to the "Question Jurassienne" (See my earlier post for a bit of context).

Sorvilier and Belprahon are both small though, so there has been nowhere near the level of tension that there was in the run up to the Moutier vote. However, with Sorvilier, should it vote to leave Bern, would become an enclave, as it does not border the Jura. This has been used as an argument to stay, although enclaves are common in Switzerland (12 cantons, including Bern, already have them).

As for how the results could go - in 2013, the whole Jura Bernois voted on whether or not to join Jura - across the whole district, 72% voted to remain in Bern - but in Sorvilier the no vote was 54.1%, and in Belprahon it was a dead heat.

*The largest francophone community in Bern is actually the bilingual (but majority German speaking) town of Biel/Bienne - although it's own position has been somewhat complicated by Moutier's leave vote (and like most of the French-German border region, it is becoming increasingly Francophone)
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parochial boy
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« Reply #329 on: September 17, 2017, 08:07:41 am »

Sorvilier and Belprahon have both voted to stay in the canton of Bern

Belprahon by 121 votes to 114
Sorvilier by 121 votes to 62

And that, you would think, means the end of the Question Jurassienne
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« Reply #330 on: September 17, 2017, 11:15:58 am »

*The largest francophone community in Bern is actually the bilingual (but majority German speaking) town of Biel/Bienne - although it's own position has been somewhat complicated by Moutier's leave vote (and like most of the French-German border region, it is becoming increasingly Francophone)

Immigration from France?
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parochial boy
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« Reply #331 on: September 17, 2017, 11:58:30 am »

Immigration, yes, but less from France and more from Portugal, Italy and Spain. Those immigrants tend to find it easier to learn another romance language like French than to learn German.

Even for immigrants from the rest of the world, it is much easier to integrate by learning French, as you only have to learn French - as opposed to having to learn both standard German and Swiss German.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #332 on: September 20, 2017, 03:01:32 am »

Ignazio Chollet has been elected to the Swiss Federal council at the second round of the election - the final results were as follows:

Ignazio Chollet - 125 votes
Pierre Maudet - 90 votes
Isabelle Moret - 28 votes

(the voters were all 246 members of the Swiss parliament, with an absolute majority required in order to be elected)
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« Reply #333 on: September 24, 2017, 05:52:22 am »



Ignazio Chollet - 125 votes


(the voters were all 246 members of the Swiss parliament, with an absolute majority required in order to be elected)

As far as I know, the name of our new foreign secretary is Ignazio Cassis. Did Google just translate his Name? Wink
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parochial boy
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« Reply #334 on: September 24, 2017, 05:58:07 am »

Lol, I was thinking of this guy
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parochial boy
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« Reply #335 on: September 26, 2017, 04:15:38 am »

Anyways, Sunday's referendum results

Food Security passes with 78.7% Yes Map
Prévoyance vieillesse fails with 52.7% No Map
the VAT rise fails with 50.1% no Map

Quite a predictable set (with a few surprises, notably Lucerne) once you factor in the left wing opposition to the reforms in Geneva, which explains the strong "No" votes there (and the knock on effect in Vaud).
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parochial boy
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« Reply #336 on: October 04, 2017, 03:52:26 pm »

Big news at the moment is the annual price increase in health insurance, up 4% on average, but higher in much of Romandie; and has led to new calls to reforms the system (just in case anybody thought Switzerland was a good example for the US to follow). Health insurance costs can take up a much of a third of a low income family's income.

There are currently two popular initiatives that are collecting signatures over a reform to the system, but none as radical as the caisse publique initiatve which failed in 2013 (Thank you Swiss Germans).

All in all, probably well timed given new Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis's, ahem, links to the health insurance lobby.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #337 on: December 15, 2017, 02:20:18 pm »

A few updates, cos why not

4th of March Referenda
As there was no national vote in November, and seeing as Referendums are basically the only thing that happens in Switzerland, the campaign for the next round has kicked off earlier than usual. There are two votes going on:

The 2021 Financial Regime - is a vote to "guarantee" the revenues obtained from VAT and federal income taxes. Between them, they make up 60% of the Confederations receipts. If passed, the confederation would be allowed to continue to collect the two taxes until 2035.

"No Billag" popular initiative -  Is a vote on whether to cancel the licence fee used to fund the SSR the Swiss public broadcaster, who run a plethora of TV and radio channels across all four "national" languages. "Billag" is the name of the company that collects the fee.

This vote is going to be the bigger, more exciting one of the two - and has already generated controversy when the presenters of the most popular French-Swiss comedy shows threatened to sue over a fake advert posted on facebook that suggested they supported abolishing Billag.

The Yes campaign is so far focussing on all the predictable themes surrounding a public broadcaster - that they dominate the market, that the fee is too high, and that SSR journalists are all a bunch of politically correct liberals anyway (on that subject - the idea that the Swiss media has a left wing bias, much touted as of late, is... laughable to say the least).

The UDC seem like they might support the initiative (of course), which has nothing to do with the fact that Blocher himself is proprietor of quite a few news outlets.

This is also an issue where the language divide could rear it's ugly head, as, a part of the resentment towards the Billag is based on the disproportionate level of funding that goes towards the linguistic minority (especially Italian) channels. On the flip side, there is the feeling in French and Italian Switzerland that that RTS, RSI and the radio stations are necessary to protect a certain level of cultural output in the two regions. And Couleur 3 is potentially the best radio station in the world, so I am not at all biased.

Funnily enough, this might also have an impact on the rural cantons in Eastern Switzerland vote, as they also rely more heavily on the SSR for local media output.

Anyway, for obvious reasons, the non-UDC parties (except for the PLR youth) and various business organisations are all backing a no vote.

A first poll has support for the initiative 57-34% ahead, but can be discounted on the basis of its joke methodology (self-selecting panel, too small sample size, and didn't actually poll anyone over the age of 65  - the age group seen as being most likely to vote "no" as they don't tend to have netflix or whatever).

Also bear in mind that early popular initiative polling nearly always overstates support for an initiative, as these polls come out before the campaigns actually start (ie before the parties start to make the case to their electorates)

Geneva News
The most important, and the most eccentric canton has it's cantonal elections next year; and so far, it has lived up to it's reputation*. The most notable bust up so far has been on the populist right; between the MCG (now led by Mauro Poggia) and ex-leader Eric Stauffer's breakaway party, called "Genève en marche". Which is hillarious on so many levels.

Notorious for his anti-French, anti-frontalier rhetoric, Stauffer left the MCG last year, claiming to have been the victim of a leftist coup, after he lost the election to the presidency of the party.

It is certainly the case that the MCG in it's current form has pretty much fully aligned itself with the left in the Geneva Grand Conseil - leading to a de facto leftwing majority (compounded by the PDC refusing to co-operate with the PLR, even though they shared a joint list in 2008; leading to a certain level of rapprochement, seen across the whole country, of the PLR with the UDC) in the legislature.

Anyway, both the MCG and "GEM" seem to be trying to "out left" each other at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, Mauro Poggia has launched a national initiative to restrict the links between politicians and health insurers - which Stuaffer as tried to outdo by launching his own initiative, to introduce a single payer public health insurance system within Geneva (which is possibly not actually legal, but whatever).

The Buffet affair
Sexual harrasment scandal hits the Swiss parliament - Yannick Buttet, a PDC Conseiller national from Valais has been accused of various sorts of harrasment, leading to his suspension from the party. A bunch of female politicians have also revealed they have been harrassed, including an UDC one - leading to predictable reactions from her own party.

*Geneva has a certain reputation, in the normally tedious world of Swiss politics, for scandals, bust ups and general chaos, leading to the Germans coining the term "Genferei" to describe that sort of thing. Of course, compared to the rest of the world, what goes on in Geneva isn't particularly unusual - it just happens to be the sole urban, Francophone canton, whereas the rest of the country is, well, Switzerland.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 04:52:09 pm by parochial boy »Logged
coloniac
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« Reply #338 on: December 15, 2017, 04:38:17 pm »

Is this person/movement a serious political force, parochial? POLITICO seem to think so...

https://www.politico.eu/list/politico-28-2018-ranking/flavia-kleiner/

but then again some of the names on that list are horrible.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #339 on: December 15, 2017, 05:08:55 pm »

I believe they're fairly well known in German Switzlerand; in Romandie, not so much. I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of a crowd to be honest...

Although I'm tempted to sneer at them as being a bunch of liberals, she is spot on about how the UDC have (scored a political master stroke in doing so) taken adavantage of the popular initiative mechanism to promote themselves. It's a running joke that you can tell there's an election on the way when the UDC launch a new controversial referendum.

Now Tamara Funiciello is someone who I would say is stirring things up. But then again, I'm biased.
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« Reply #340 on: December 16, 2017, 11:10:50 am »

I believe they're fairly well known in German Switzlerand; in Romandie, not so much. I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of a crowd to be honest...

Although I'm tempted to sneer at them as being a bunch of liberals, she is spot on about how the UDC have (scored a political master stroke in doing so) taken adavantage of the popular initiative mechanism to promote themselves. It's a running joke that you can tell there's an election on the way when the UDC launch a new controversial referendum.

Now Tamara Funiciello is someone who I would say is stirring things up. But then again, I'm biased.

This had me thinking, how often do your electorates intertwine in debates, etc. I always got the impression (with your party system that doesn't seem that split) that there was still some level of interest at the "federal" unit of analysis, unlike here. So German-speaking cantons would still be aware of what is going on in Romandie and vice versa, and vote accordingly at "federal issues".

Would Funiciello for example, if she were to get more popularity in Romandie, then attempt to establish herself and her movement in some German-speaking cities? Or is it just not done?
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parochial boy
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« Reply #341 on: December 16, 2017, 02:05:18 pm »

I believe they're fairly well known in German Switzlerand; in Romandie, not so much. I wouldn't have been able to pick her out of a crowd to be honest...

Although I'm tempted to sneer at them as being a bunch of liberals, she is spot on about how the UDC have (scored a political master stroke in doing so) taken adavantage of the popular initiative mechanism to promote themselves. It's a running joke that you can tell there's an election on the way when the UDC launch a new controversial referendum.

Now Tamara Funiciello is someone who I would say is stirring things up. But then again, I'm biased.

This had me thinking, how often do your electorates intertwine in debates, etc. I always got the impression (with your party system that doesn't seem that split) that there was still some level of interest at the "federal" unit of analysis, unlike here. So German-speaking cantons would still be aware of what is going on in Romandie and vice versa, and vote accordingly at "federal issues".

Would Funiciello for example, if she were to get more popularity in Romandie, then attempt to establish herself and her movement in some German-speaking cities? Or is it just not done?

Oh, that's kind of a tricky question. I would say overall, it is not like Belgium - the national referenda are obviously national level debates, and interest in what is going on at the federal level is driven much more by political ideology, than by linguistic identity. I mean, outside a few journos and party cadres, no-one really cares about which language region has what level of representation on the federal council for instance.

In the case of Opération Libero, it is starting to grow in French Switzerland; there is just a natural barrier as the average French Swiss speaks virtually no German, and vice versa.

The caveat here is that there is a certain element where, because it is the majority, German Switzerland is basically seen as being equivalent to the whole of Switzerland, and Ticino goes along with this to some degree as they are far more worried about "not being Italian". In that respect, Romandie can feel a little bit apart. (I have a feeling that Swiss-Germans tend to be much more concerned about the cantonal level specifically, whereas French Swiss tend to have a stronger identity of being Romand).

The party system is funny as well - up until 2009, there was a pretty major split between French and German Switzerland on the right; but that was killed off by the rise of the UDC. Local branches can still have pretty major differences (the Socialists are way further left in Geneva than they are anywhere else; and there is a pretty major linguistic divide in the PS in terms of which issues get focussed on and voter demographics - it's a lot more working class in Romandie); but there is a trend towards national consolidation.

Anyway, I'm waffling, but to answer your question; it is quite disjointed, but less than it used to be (which is not the same as saying that voting patterns have converged)
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« Reply #342 on: December 16, 2017, 06:11:50 pm »

No its given me a good impression, thanks. I think looking at Switzerland we could do with some federal-wide referenda to rekindle some federal debate (beyond politique politicienne), but I imagine it would end up like the Royal Question : interpreted as a North-South divide.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #343 on: December 31, 2017, 08:24:59 pm »

A warm welcome to the first(?) new head of state of 2018. The new president of Switzerland, the socialist Alain Berset!

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parochial boy
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« Reply #344 on: January 19, 2018, 07:19:42 am »

First "proper" poll on No Billag. From Tamedia, who I have serious doubts about, but it is predicting a crushing defeat for the initiative (40% yes, 59% no). The general pattern with referendums is that, as the campaign progresses, there is movement towards the establishment (ie Federal Council and the parties) position, so the chances of this one passing look pretty slim.

Glorious news!

« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 07:21:30 am by parochial boy »Logged
parochial boy
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« Reply #345 on: March 03, 2018, 10:59:53 am »

Quite a few votes going on tomorrow (apprently some minor election going on in Italy too?), starting with the most obvious - the two referendums:

Final polls have come out courtesy of GFS.bern and SSR, showing No Billag (cancelling the TV licence fee) being rejected by a whopping 65%-33%; and the continuation of the financial regime being accepted by 74%-16%.

Essentially, this is a solid win for the establishment position; No Billag looks like it is going to be a UBI or minimum wage style walkover - but the interesting thing is how bad tempered the campaign has been. In terms of the emotions it seems to have stirred up across the spectrum, it has been significantly nastier than your run of the mill campaign (including death threats being sent to some of the main "no" campaigners). The lack of a November referendum meant that the campaing kicked off much earlier than usual, so the general feeling at the moment is "thank God it's almost over".

There are also cantonal elections going on tomorrow in the three backwards rural mountain cantons of Nidwald, Obwald and Glarus - thanks in part to my atrocious German, I haven't followed the campaigns very much (or at all), but here is a crosspost from OWW on the general situation in the three cantons:

Glarus
Is actually a bit different here. It is not one of the original four cantons (unlike NW and OW) and tends to be the most left-wing of the small mountain cantons. Principally becuase it is mixed protestant-catholic as oppsed to being Catholic, and has a traditional industrial and working class base (as mentioned above), bizarrely, it also has one of the highest Muslim  populations in the country.

The canton also has the unique phenomena of the langsgemeinde or citizens assembly, where all eligible voters descend on Glaris town square to debate and vote on key legislation. Last year, this included a decision to reject a proposed Burqa ban, which was a surprisingly progressive move for the canton (and would have probably also not impacted a single person even if it was passed).

It is also one of the canton's with a strong PBD, legacy of it's traditionally moderate UDC branch breaking away as part of the Widmer-Schlumpf coup, and a couple of local notables gonig with her

The current government is composed of

Regierungsrat
PLR - 2
UDC - 1
PBD - 1
PDC - 1

Landrat
UDC - 17
PLR - 12
PBD - 9
PS - 7
Greens - 7
PDC - 6
Green Liberals - 2

Obwald

One half of the "whole" canton of Ünterwald (which didn't actually exist as a unified entity), Obwald, like Nidwald, was one of original four cantons who, according to mythology, signed the eternal alliance pact at the Grütli meadow back in around 1300, creating the nation of Switzerland.

Today, as it always has been, it is a rural, Catholic and solidly conservative canton, and a real life example of any stereotypes you might have of Switzerland. The PS are so weak here that they are not even standing a candidate for the Regierungsrat, and have instead decided to endorse a local independent and the PCS candidate. The local PCS are a vaguel obscure thing, apparently they are not formally connected to the federal Social-Christians, but are an observer member. Anyway, the PS support seems to imply that they are at least left-leaning.

Also, as "Catholic" implies, this is still a PDC heartland, despite the local poopulation being far more right wing and reactionary than the centrist federal PDC.

Regierungsrat
PLR - 2
PDC - 2
PCS- 1

Kantonsrat
PDC - 19
UDC - 13
PLR - 10
PCS - 7
PS - 6

Nidwald
The other half of Ünterwald, otherwise indistinguishable, aside from the fact that it is trying to set itself up as a tax haven (dream big guys...). Like Obwald, a traditionally poor, rural canton, that was part of the reactionary Sonderbund league whose defeat in 1847 led to the creation of the modern federal and democratic constitution.

Regierungsrat
PDC - 3
UDC - 2
PLR - 2

Landrat
PDC - 17
UDC - 17
PLR - 15
Greens - 8
PS - 3

In sum, all I can say is that these three cantons have a combined populiation of only 100,000, and each of them is quite far outside the mainstream (too conservative and religious, but above all, too rural and remote) - so anything that happens in these elections in March will be pretty irrelevant in terms of what is going on in the country as a whole.
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parochial boy
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« Reply #346 on: March 04, 2018, 10:30:22 am »

No Billag has been rejected by a huge 71.6% of the vote, and the renewal of the financial regime was passed by 84.1%. Glorious news!

Here is a map of the No Billag vote, and here is a link to a clickable map for both votes (the finanicial regime vote was basically unanimous, so there aren't really any interesting patterns to speak of)



As you can see, the end result was a slightly higher No vote in Romandie, but not by much, such was the size of the no vote. Graubdunden was also solidly "No", possibly a result of the mythical "Romanche" speakers, but also because a remote and sparsely populated region would have lost disproportionately from the initiative. Biggest Yes votes were the usual suspects.

The only interesting thing I picked up was that, looking into the Geneva results by commune, there was more support for No Billag in some of the poorer West/Northern suburbs, which I guess stands to reason so far as concerns a flat charge like a TV licence (and lots of immigrants, who presumably don't watch Swiss TV).

Will look into the cantonal elections results as soon as I can be bothered.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 11:18:37 am by parochial boy »Logged
parochial boy
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« Reply #347 on: March 04, 2018, 01:29:26 pm »

Presented without comment, cantonal election results for primitive Switzerland:

Nidwald
Landrat
PLR - 17 (+2)
PDC - 16 (-1)
UDC - 15 (-2 suck it!)
Greens - 8 (nc)
PS - 3 (nc)
Independent - 1 (nc)

Regierungsrat
PDC - 3
PLR - 2
UDC - 2

Same as last time. Grim.

Obwald
Kantonsrat
PDC - 16 (-3)
UDC - 15 (+2)
PLR - 8 (-2)
PCS - 8 (+1)
PS - 8 (+2)

Regierungsrat
1st place - an Independent
2nd - a PDC
3rd - a PLR
All elected in the first round, so there will be a run off on the 8th of April for the two remaining spots.
4th -  a PCS
5th - an UDC
6th - a PDC
7th/8th - two independents

Glarus
Regierungsrat
PLR - 2
UDC - 1
PBD - 1
PDC - 1
(no changes at all)

The Landrat elections seem to actually be taking place on the 10th of June, because apparently Glarus doesn't have the internet yet or something.

Anyway, reasonable day for the left I think.
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« Reply #348 on: March 04, 2018, 06:47:27 pm »

Good news from Switzerland, in...7 years of 'observing' (ie wandering in this thread, or its predecessors, and wondering why I bothered).  Wink
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« Reply #349 on: March 12, 2018, 04:36:58 pm »

Bern Cantonal elections
Bern has the first round of it’s cantonal elections on the 25th of March, and as Switzerland’s second most populous canton, and home to the federal capital (technically “Ville Fédérale) it probably deserves a bit of attention.

Currently the government is made up as follows
Conseil Exécutif/Regierungsrat
PS – 2
UDC – 2
Greens – 1
PLR – 1
PBD – 1

Grand Conseil/Grosser Rat
UDC – 50
PS – 33
PLR – 17
Greens and allies – 16
PBD – 13
PEV – 12
UDF (mad Christians) – 5
PSA (Socialist/Jura separatists) – 3

As I touched on a few time last year, Bern is technically a bilingual canton. Although it is overwhelmingly German speaking, it has a francophone minority, mostly living in the Jura Bernois in the north of the canton, or around the bilingual watchmaking town of Biel/Bienne. As a result of this, even despite the imminent departure of the town of Moutier, the Francophones (who make up about 10% of the total population) are guaranteed at least one seat in the executive.

Touching on the Regierungsrat races, there a couple of interesting points at hand - in particular as Bern is in a near unique situation of being a German speaking canton within touching difference of having a left-wing majority in the executive (although really it is thanks to the Francophones, who do reliably vote for lefties).
 
The left in particular have reason to be optimistic given that the various cantonal elections in the rest of the country over the last year and a half have seemingly gone their way – the left having a double majority in Neuchatel, running the government in Vaud and having the PS as the largest party in Fribourg (which is absolutely insane given what Fribourg used to be like), as well as the excellent results in Solothurn last year or the the city of Zurich earlier this month. On the flip side, Bernhard Pulver, the Green Conseiller D’Etat is stepping down, which means that the Greens will have a battle on their hands to keep his spot.
 
On the flip side, the PBD are facing an absolute fight for their leaves to keep their one spot on the council – which could potentially be a real test of the parties ability to survive into the mid-term.
 
Bern is one of the three cantons where the PBD have a stronghold of support, as it was some of the key moderates within the Bern wing of the UDC (including ex federal councillor Samuel Schmid)¸who were involved in driving the moderate wing of the UDC to break away. Since then, the PBD has struggled to define itself, originally presenting itself as a moderate version of the UDC, it quickly found itself being outflanked by the ever more right wing PLR. After a disastrous result (4.1%) at the 2015 federal elections, the party has increasingly defined itself in the centre of the spectrum (notably, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was opposed to RIE III and the party has supported the anti-nuclear and green movements), in a similar place to the PDC and GreenLiberals. The trouble here is that the centre is not a particularly big place in Switzerland, probably worth about 20% of the vote, and three parties in that space make it quite crowded. The PBD in particular, would seem to be the biggest victims of this, as their demographic, rural Swiss German Protestant who think Blocher is maybe a little bit over the top, is, well, not big group of people.
 
As a result, the PBD’s future is in question, in particular as Widmer-Schlumpf, the party’s only real heavy hitter on the national scene, has retired. Various mergers have been proposed (especially by the various Romand sections, whose support is basically zero); but the UDC, and increasingly the PLR, are obviously out of the question; and the PDC have the glaring flaw of being Catholics (in 2018 people, c’mon). That leaves the GreenLiberals, who would seem the most likely, but even there, the two parties have very different demographic bases and appeal to very different kinds of people, even if their policy platforms are basically identical, which would probably undermine the success of any merger (but the Bourgeois Green party would be a terrific name for a party). Having said that, if they gain a couple of seat and hold on to their spot in the Regierungsrat (and if they do reasonably in the Grisons and Glarus later this year), they’ll probably keep going past 2019 at the very least.

Anyway, Bern is an interesting place, demographically speaking as it basically fits the whole of Switzerland into one canton. You have a lefty city in Bern itself; a small town Francophone working class in the Jura Bernois; mixed working class areas in Biel/Bienne and along the Aare river; as well as the solidly right wing rural areas in the Berner Oberland and the Emmental (yes, it's where they invented putting holes in cheese). The flip side, is being typically Swiss is that the local political scene, like the local way of live, can only be described as sedate.
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