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Hot autumn

Next autumn's elections will cause red heads in some places. One reason for this may be the climate debate. But not only that.

The past cantonal elections indicate that some changes could also occur for the national elections in autumn. The climate debate, which has been intensified since this winter, has already had an impact in several cantons. The winners were the Greens, Green Liberals and - to a more modest extent - the SP. On the losing side were the SVP, the FDP and the CVP. The question is: will the issue last until the national elections? Or will it be pushed into the background again by another? And above all: what good are the parties' recipes for dealing with ecological issues?

Winner in the middle

The FDP has just made what is undoubtedly the biggest change of direction. In view of the latest results, its president took a bold step and received relatively clear support from her base. The assertions that the FDP has always been a liberal eco-party still seem somewhat artificial. But at least the Bundeshausfraktion will be able to prove in the autumn session, and thus in time for the elections, that it has found a new direction in ecological issues. And not only the media, but also the other parties will follow every move with suspicious eyes. But whether the voters will also appreciate this change of course and whether the FDP will be able to stop the shift to the Green Liberals is likely to become the president's fateful question in the end.

After the cantonal elections, the Green Liberals are very relaxed. They are among the big winners and - at least for the time being - can look forward to the national elections with confidence. They also have a large number of candidates with a youthful, intellectual appeal, who will appeal above all to an urban audience. The ecological-liberal mix is well received there, at least at the cantonal level. In the national elections, however, the GLP's European policy orientation should also be more relevant. This issue has received little attention in the cantons, but it will have a greater impact on the result at the national level and could prove to be a brake on its rise.

The left decide nuances

Now that the ecological drought seems to have been overcome, the SP and Greens are no longer trying to outbid each other on typically left-wing issues. The new question is: Who invented it? The SP claims to be the true guardians of Green issues. The Greens, on the other hand, think that it is only thanks to them that the SP has become a little green. Either way, the two differ only in nuances - in the cities they have long since formed an inseparable alliance. But the SP could be stumbled by the strong left-turn of recent years. Many a veteran comrade could take the last graduates as an example and quietly and silently change the list.

The CVP has always shown itself to be an extremely agile party. In addition, the broad spectrum of its cantonal sections allows it to conjure up an all-purpose weapon from a hat for practically any issue. However, the fact that it has failed to sharpen its profile over the past four years is also likely to be its downfall in the national elections. This could take its revenge in a polarised environment.

Against the mainstream

Finally, the SVP remains. It has remained at its core as it has always been. While others are at the mercy of the current mood (or are voluntarily surrendering), the Farmers' and Tradespeople's Party is simply not moving. It denounces, doubts, opposes, and presents itself as the sole supporter of a free Switzerland. Climate change? No chance! All just left-wing redistribution mania. Simply nonsense. In doing so, it is once again creating a unique selling proposition for itself and could become a refuge for all those who do not want change and are dissatisfied. It is difficult to say whether this tried and tested strategy will also work in 2019. After all, even in the SVP some people are closer to the soil than to high finance. So it's not for nothing that the party's logo is green with a bright sun.

Published on 01. July 2019 by Martin Arnold