Fears over waves of millions of Syrian refugees flooding Europe have spread to Switzerland. In a huge swing to the right, the Anti-Immigration SVP Party Wins Swiss Election.
The right-wing, anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has won Switzerland’s parliamentary election with a record 29.4% of the vote.
Its victory translates into 11 extra seats, giving it 65 out of the total 200 in the lower house. SVP leader Toni Brunner can now forge a majority with other right-wing parties.
Europe’s migrant crisis boosted support for the SVP, commentators say – though Switzerland is taking in far fewer migrants than Germany.
The right-wing liberal FDP also got an electoral boost, coming third.
Swiss media are speaking of a “Rechtsrutsch” – a “slide to the right” – because the SVP, FDP and some small right-wing parties can now command a majority in the National Council (lower house).
No such slide has occurred yet in the 46-seat upper house (Council of States), as a second round of voting is required in many cantons.
The SVP won the 2011 vote with 26.6%, becoming the largest party, but now it has made further gains.
“The vote was clear. The people are worried about mass migration to Europe,” said SVP leader Toni Brunner.
The SVP spearheaded the Swiss drive to impose immigration quotas, which got the green light in a February 2014 referendum. But it contradicts the EU’s freedom of movement principle, which Switzerland had earlier agreed to respect.
The EU has until January 2017 to resolve the dispute with Switzerland – after that the Swiss government must make the quotas law.
Switzerland has pledged to participate in the EU’s controversial scheme to relocate 120,000 refugees from Italy and Greece, but it is not yet clear how many the Swiss will accept.
The SVP is sceptical about Switzerland’s many bilateral agreements with the EU, telling voters that the country is better off remaining outside the 28-nation bloc.
The only thing that can stop this refugee crisis are strict border controls coupled with policy changes.
The EU brought this crisis upon itself by offering free food, free shelter, and free services to economic as opposed to political refugees.
Reader Ivo from Switzerland writes …
I highly estimate your worldwide coverage and would like to thank you for your publications.
In above publication you got some details about Switzerland wrong, most probably because worldwide press does simplify too much and nobody ever cares!
The conservative party SVP slightly increased it’s percentage at the expense of middle parties, while the socialists kept their position.
The main focus of SVP is not immigration, but to keep Switzerland independent of the EU and to prevent that the current bilateral contracts with EU will be poisoned by mechanisms that could force Switzerland to automatically abide new EU laws. Furthermore there is high pressure from EU that Switzerland should submit to the EU court, what obviously would end full sovereignty.
Regarding immigration, SVP is not against any help to refugees. But in contrast to the socialist party who would like to follow the German and Swedish path, SVP was intelligent enough to think about what is possible without getting a major disturbance and as a consequence restlessness.
Although the “slide to the right” arithmetic is technically correct, in Switzerland each party most often follows it’s very own agenda and varying coalitions exist only for specific themes.
As for “The SVP spearheaded the Swiss drive to impose immigration quotas, which got the green light in a February 2014 referendum“:
This referendum was accepted with 51% of votes. Its mostly intended against immigration from new eastern countries of the EU which has increased a lot. It already provokes problems in German cities with huge enclaves of Bulgarians and Romanians, which have problems to find jobs and to adapt to the hosting country. The Swiss government is not really determined to establish such laws and hoped that recent elections might help against it.
Regards from Switzerland
Mike “Mish” Shedlock