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Dardanelli, Paolo (2008)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Ltd
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: J, JN
The Swiss federal elections of 2007 were among the most bitter and dramatic the country has experienced in its 160-year history as a federal state.1 The trend towards polarisation, visible for the past 15 years, progressed further and reached a spectacular climax in the executive elections which brought to an end the consensual style of politics of the past 50 years. The elections for the lower house saw the largest gains made by the two parties located at the opposite ends of the political spectrum: the Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC, hereafter referred to simply as SVP) on the right and the Greens (GPS/PES) on the left. The Greens also performed strongly in the upper house elections, gaining representation for the first time, while the SVP did less well and lost one seat. The most dramatic outcome was produced by the elections for the executive, which saw the SVP's leader Christoph Blocher failing to win re-election and his party in response deciding to withdraw into opposition. Although neither the balance of forces in parliament nor the political complexion of the executive have significantly altered, Blocher's eviction and the SVP's confrontational policy seem likely to introduce considerable instability into Swiss politics over the next four years. While the country is not yet facing a change of regime, it is certainly at a critical juncture
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