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People’s Party and Greens make gains in


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People’s Party and Greens make clear gains in Switzerland


21 October 2007

BERNE - The right wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP,UDC) and the Greens appear to be the main winners in Swiss elections, according to the first indications in the hours since polls closed Sunday.

However, any decisive swing to the right or left after one of the most divisive and expensive election campaigns ever fought in Switzerland proved elusive.

The People’s Party (SVP/UDC) appears to have consolidated its position, even if it has not repeated the surge in popularity which saw it win a second seat in cabinet in the 2003 elections.

The Greens have made substantial gains. The main losers appear to be the Socialists with the Radicals slipping slightly at the same time as their rivals the Christian Democrats who have reaped small gains leaving the two centre right parties elbow to elbow.

The SVP/UDC, which already held a majority in parliament, fought a bitter campaign on anti-immigration and crime ticket which brought accusations of racism.

Billionaire businessman Christoph Blocher is seen as the SVP/UDC party strongman and has been a central force in carving out policy. He has made a fortune in the chemical industry while pursuing his political career.

As results emerged Sunday, the Socialists, the biggest party after the SVP/UDC, again complained they could not compete financially with the right and a lack of resources had cost them vital votes.

The aggressive tone of the campaign is thought to have encouraged more voters than usual to go to the ballot boxes to elect the 200 plus members of parliament across two chambers. The turnout is expected to be higher than in 2003 when it reached 45.2 per cent.

The final outcome was far from clear with many results from a number of cantons still outstanding. The seven-strong cabinet will only be elected in December by the two chambers.


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