Despite Switzerland’s reputation for democracy, only 39% of eligible voters bothered to vote at Sunday’s cantonal election in Vaud.
The election, which gives voters a chance to choose the canton’s 150-seat parliament (Grand Conseil) and who goes into the second round run off for the 7-member executive (Conseil d’Etat) on 21 May, delivered little change.
The Liberal Radical Party (PLR), picked up 3 more seats to win 49, the Swiss People’s Party (UDC) and Socialist Party (PS) lost 2 and 3 seats respectively finishing with 25 and 37 members, while the Greens gained 2 seats giving them a final tally of 21. The two far-left parties retained 5 seats between them, while the remaining 18 seats were spread across another nine parties. The results are presented here in a chart. To see how people voted by commune click here.
Oscar Mazzoleni, a professor of political science at UNIL, told 24 Heures that low turnout is is most pronounced among younger people. He said: “Voting is a habit for many voters and it is formed between 20 and 30. Those who don’t develop the habit do it less later.”
One political party in the canton of Jura recently announced plans to make voting compulsory in an attempt to rekindle the spirit of democracy. Those who put forward the plan deplore the decline in voter participation, pointing out that only 33% of eligible voters participated in Neuchâtel’s recent cantonal election.
Currently, the German-speaking canton of Schaffhausen is the only canton where voting is compulsory.