• Switzerland's news in English
Swiss federal elections
Parties manoeuvre for seats in Swiss senate
Photo: Swiss parliament/Facebook

Parties manoeuvre for seats in Swiss senate

The Local · 19 Oct 2015, 23:33

Published: 19 Oct 2015 23:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The final outcome won’t be known until November 22nd, but on Sunday a total of 27 senators were elected in the first round of voting, leaving 19 seats still to be decided.

The upper house, also known as the Council of States, consists of representatives from each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.

Twenty cantons elect two senators each, while six small cantons send one apiece.

Unlike in the proportional voting system for the lower house of parliament, members of the senate are elected by majority vote, leading to results that are completely different from the lower house.

The right-wing Swiss People’s Party, for example, which has the largest representation in the house of representatives (or national council) has so far elected only five members — all incumbents — to the senate.

The centre-right Liberals are currently leading with eight senators, followed by the centrist Christian Democrats (seven) and the Social Democrats (six).

Second rounds of voting for the upper house are set for the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg, Valais, Bern, Ticino, Lucerne and Obwalden.

New elections will also be held in cantons where one senator has already been elected in each, including Zurich, Saint Gallen and Aargau.

The Swiss People’s Party are hoping to boost their representation in the senate from the five seats they won in 2011.

In the last election the Christian Democrats (13) and the Liberals (11) together had enough seats to form a majority in the senate.

The Socialists won 11 seats, while the rest of them were scattered among the smaller parties.

Because of the majority vote situation, some parties that may not have strong enough candidates in a particular canton are making tactical decisions to throw their support to hopefuls from similarly aligned parties.

In the canton of Geneva, for example, the right-wing parties are looking for ways from stopping the left-wing incumbents Liliane Maury Pasquier (Socialists) and Robert Cramer (Greens) from being re-elected.

Story continues below…

Pasquier and Cramer led the first round.

The fourth-placed candidate Raymond Loretta of the Christian Democrats bowed out of the race on Monday, throwing his support behind Liberal candidate Benoît Genecand, the third placed finisher, with the hope of “breaking the monopoly of the left and allowing for a balanced representation in the canton”, the Tribune de Genève reported.

Similar tactical decisions are being made in other cantons, with parties lining up in blocs.

The parties are taking the elections seriously because, despite its fewer members, the senate has an equal amount of legislative power as the 200-member lower house.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available