People's Party faces setback in Switzerland's parliamentary election


ZURICH – The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which campaigned to stop an influx of immigrants, has lost support in a parliamentary election as voters, disillusioned with traditional politics, shifted their backing to smaller, fledgling parties.

The SVP lost some 2.1 percentage points from the last election in 2007 but was still on track to be the biggest party with 26.8 per cent of the vote, according to a projection by Swiss television yesterday based on partial results.

In second place, the centre-left Social Democrats are seen as winning 18.9 percent of the vote, 0.6 percentage points below their showing in the 2007 election, though they were set to increase by one their number of seats in parliament.

The centrist Free Democrats (FDP) and Christian Democrats (CDP) both lost ground, while the small Green Liberal Party (BLP) and the Conservative Democrats (BDP) – which broke away from the SVP in 2008 – were the main gainers.

The results suggest the appeal of the SVP’s anti-immigration rhetoric is waning. The party plastered towns and cities with posters showing black feet storming over the Swiss flag with the slogan: “Now is enough! Stop mass immigration!” – (Reuters)