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City of Geneva faces left-right political divisions

The Local · 11 May 2015, 22:14

Published: 11 May 2015 22:14 GMT+02:00

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The latest round of voting saw the five members of the executive re-elected, led by top vote-getter Sami Kanaan, of the Socialist party, followed by Esther Alder (Greens), Sandrine Salerno (Socialists), Rémy Pagani (Ensemble à Gauche) and Guillaume Barazzone of the centre-right Christian Democrats.

But while the left control the executive they must contend with a Geneva city council that has a right-wing majority.

The has raised questions about how effective the municipal government will be.

“With a decision-making body this time clearly to the right and a government still so left-wing we can well wonder how the city will be able to advance its projects,” Pierre Ruetschi, editor-in-chief of the Tribune de Genève said in an editorial.

Absorbed by these tensions, the city is in danger of not being well positioned to engage in a constructive dialogue with the canton over finances and the sharing of responsibilities, Ruetschi indicated.

In a related development, as expected, the Geneva Citizens’ Movement (MCG) lost representation in municipal elections across the canton of Geneva.

In particular, party co-founder Eric Stauffer was voted out of office in the municipality of Onex, where he was a member of the executive and served as mayor in 2014-15.

Other MCG members of the party failed to win seats on executive councils elsewhere in the canton.

Story continues below…

The party campaigned against what it called “special privileges” accorded to “frontaliers” (foreign workers in Geneva living outside Switzerland).

Stauffer, a controversial politician who had to be forcibly ejected from the Geneva cantonal parliament by police after he disagreed with a procedural decision, remains a member of the parliament after being first elected to the body in 2005.

Roger Golay, president of the MCG, failed to win election to the executive of the municipality of Lancy.

The Socialists and Greens scored victories in the municipalities of Versoix, Bernex and Grand-Saconnex by gaining executive positions they had never held before, while the centre-right Liberals also performed strongly in the Geneva municipal elections. 

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