Switzerland’s recent federal elections delivered a shift towards parties promising to deliver environmental change.
The left leaning Green Party increased its seats in the National Council, Switzerland’s federal parliament from 11 (5.5%) to 28 (14%), and the Green Liberal Party’s seat count rose from 7 (3.5%) to 16 (8%).
Historically, the political make up of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, has, under a convention known as the magic formula, roughly reflected the political make up of parliament.
Going into the 2019 election, the Federal Council consisted of members from the top four parties. Two members from the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), two from the Socialist Party (PS/SP), two from the Liberal Radical Party (PLR/FDP) and one from the Christian Democratic People’s Party (PDC/CVP).
When the Green Party (28 seats) overtook the PDC (25 seats) and moved into fourth place in the November 2019 parliamentary election, some thought it might get a seat in the Federal Council.
However, last week when the Federal Assembly – the National Council and the Council of States together – elected Federal Council members for the next four years, no changes were made. As is customary, all existing Federal Council members were reelected for another four years.
Bernard Wuthrich, who writes for the newspaper Le Temps, thinks the magic formula has failed to reflect the nation’s sociopolitical evolution and now appears obsolete.
Perfecting the mix of people in Switzerland’s Federal Council is a difficult task. Language, canton and gender dimensions are also taken into consideration. Currently, there are two members from German-speaking cantons (Zurich and St. Gallen), one from a French-speaking canton (Vaud), one from Italian-speaking Ticino and three from the bilingual cantons of Fribourg (Freiburg), Bern (Berne) and Valais (Wallis). There are three women and four men.