Election For Members

Everything that's set to change after the 2019 Swiss election

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Everything that's set to change after the 2019 Swiss election
The election recast the Swiss parliament. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

From marriage equality to new charges on airline tickets, the historic 2019 Swiss election looks likely to bring about a raft of significant changes.


Switzerland's unique political system meant that a range of significantly diverse policy proposals were made before the election. 

But the big wins for both the Greens and the Green Liberals, alongside a decrease in support for the Swiss People's Party (SVP), have reshaped the Swiss political landscape. 

Here are some of the new policies that are set to be put in place under the new Swiss government. 

READ: Green parties make historic gains in Swiss election

Environment and climate change

With the two 'greenest' parties winning big at the ballot box this time around -- along with big losses for the climate-sceptic SVP -- it's safe to say that the environment was a massive issue for voters. 

READ: Where the parties stand on major election issues affecting internationals in Switzerland 

Indeed, as The Local found in our pre-election poll which took into account the opinions of our readers, the environment was the most important issue at stake on October 20th. 

One in four of our respondents told us that climate change was their major concern. 

Swiss Green Party President Regula Rytz. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

A suite of new environmental laws are set to be put in place. This includes the imposition of a flight surcharge of between 30 to 120 francs per flight, a petrol surcharge of 12 cents per litre, tighter CO2 limits for newly-built cars and stricter controls on oil heating systems in old buildings. 

The Greens told Swiss newspaper 20 Minutes that the priority was getting through the new changes quickly, arguing that they represented the will of the people as evidenced in the election. 

The SVP however said they would use their influence in Swiss parliament to block any changes and would push for a referendum on the issue. 

"We are now in opposition again. In the future, we must fight left-wing majorities with initiatives and referendums," said SVP President Albert Rösti. 

Rights and social policy

The leftward turn of the Swiss parliament may end Switzerland's relatively unique status when it comes to same-sex marriage. While the majority of Western European countries have put in place same sex-marriage permissions, in Switzerland only civil unions are available. 

As The Local discussed earlier in 2019, this has less to do with underlying religious conservatism in Switzerland -- as it does in neighbouring Italy -- than it does with the slow-moving nature of Swiss politics. 

The new parliament however, led by left and centre-left representatives, is likely to pass full marriage rights in the upcoming term. 

Similarly, support for allowing homosexual women to receive semen donations is also likely to be found, given that a vote in the previous parliament on the initiative only narrowly failed. 

Corporate responsibility

The election is also likely to be a victory for advocates of stronger corporate responsibility protections in Switzerland.

Prior to the election, the Greens and the Social Democrats indicated a desire to strengthen corporate social responsibility with the enactment of the Corporate Responsibility Initiative (CRI).

The CRI seeks to place a greater on Swiss companies to account for their actions abroad, including on payment of a fair wage and their impacts on the environment. 

While the CRI had stalled in the previous parliament, the electoral losses of those most staunchly opposed to it -- the SVP and the Liberals -- raise the prospects of it being passed successfully. 

The Swiss Parliament. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

European policy

Prior to the election, European integration was another major issue for many.

While the SVP sought to pursue a greater Swiss independence from Europe, several of the other major parties saw European integration as a way to improve economic and social outcomes at home. 

The newly recast Swiss parliament looks set for more disagreement on the topic however, as the Greens and Social Democrats are set to agitate for better wage protections, while the SVP wants to leave the existing framework altogether.

The Christian Democrats have also indicated a desire to renegotiate the framework.

The Green Liberals have indicated complete support for the framework as it currently stands, being the only party to do so. 

Therefore, Switzerland's role in Europe is set to be subject to significant debate in the coming years. 

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