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Greens biggest loser in Geneva cantonal vote

Malcolm Curtis · 6 Oct 2013, 23:51

Published: 06 Oct 2013 23:51 GMT+02:00

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In a first-round vote for the seven-seat government for the canton, centre-right candidates took six of the top seven positions, with a Socialist candidate taking seventh place.

In the parliamentary race, the Green party suffered the biggest proportional defeat with ten seats, down from 17 in the previous election, while Michèle Künzler, the party’s representative in the cantonal government, bowed out of politics after a poor showing in the first round of voting for the seven-person executive.

Künzler, minister responsible for transport and the environment, finished 17th out of 29 candidates for the cabinet.

“I am paying for the fact that Genevans have difficulties understanding that mobility will no longer be as easy as before,” she told Swiss radio RTS.

The Green party has advocated measures to make it more difficult to drive in the centre of Geneva, while promoting public transport.

The parliamentary elections marked the return of the far-left Ensemble à Gauche party, which gained nine seats, according to initial results, up from zero.

The centre-right Liberals (PLR) won the highest total of seats for any party in the 100-seat parliament, although its representation fell from 31 to 24.

Two of the PLR’s incumbent cabinet ministers Pierre Maudet and François Longchamp topped the polls for the government, while a third, Isabel Rochat, came fifth but no candidate won enough votes in the first round to gain election.

A second round of voting for the government is scheduled for November 10th.

The Mouvement Citoyen Genevois (MCG), a populist party founded just eight years ago, elected 20 MPs, up three from the previous election, according to preliminary results.

The party, which believes frontaliers (workers who work in Geneva but live in neighbouring France) are benefiting at the expense of Genevan residents, saw two of its members Mauro Poggia (sixth) and Eric Stauffer (eighth) in the top 10 list of government candidates.

The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (UDC) saw its representation in the parliament increase to 11 from nine, while that of the Socialists (15 seats) and Christian Democrats (11) remained unchanged.

Serge Dal Busco and Luc Barthassat from the Christian Democrats placed third and fourth in the first round of voting for the government, while Socialist Anne Emery-Torracinta came seventh.

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The results leave blocs of about equal strength in the parliament representing the left, centre-right and right wing.

The decisive vote next month for the government is too hard to call, according to local media.

The Tribune de Genève newspaper said the leading PLR (Liberal) candidates Maudet and Longchamp should be re-elected but the other five cabinet seats will be hotly contested. 

According to figures issued by the canton of Geneva on Sunday night, 41 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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