Green Party fails to secure cabinet seat in Swiss Federal Council election

Green Party fails to secure cabinet seat in Swiss Federal Council election
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Despite the gains made in October’s general election, the Swiss Green Party did not enter government as Switzerland’s ‘magic formula’ for governing held firm.

The Green Party won 13 percent of the vote, making it the fourth largest party in Swiss parliament. The major parties however have decided against appointing Green Chairwoman Regula Rytz onto the Federal Council. 

As The Local covered on Wednesday in our explainer on the Swiss electoral system, unlike other countries, the voters in Switzerland do not elect a single head of state. 

Instead, the members of parliament – which are elected by the general public – vote for their representatives on the seven-seat Federal Council. 

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about the Swiss Federal Council election 

The representatives on the seven-seat council are selected according to a so-called ‘magic formula’, which means they tend to represent the four major parties in the Swiss Parliament. 

Pursuant to the magic formula, the four major parties – the Swiss People's Party, the Social Democrats, the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Christian Democrats – have occupied the Federal Council since 1959. 

The three biggest parties receive two seats, with the fourth biggest party picking up the final seat on the seven-person panel. 

This year however, the Greens overtook the Christian Democrats as the fourth most-popular party in parliament. 

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Rytz sought to challenge Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, of the centre right FDB, however the vote went 145 to 82 in Cassis’ favour. 


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