Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland

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Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland
Bürgerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz (BDP) (German)
Parti bourgeois démocratique suisse (PBD) (French)
Partito borghese democratico Svizzero (PBD) (Italian)
Partida burgais democratica Svizra (PBD) (Romansh)
President Martin Landolt
Founded 1 November 2008
Headquarters Postfach 119
CH-3000 Bern 6
Membership  (2011) 6,500[1]
Ideology Conservatism[2]
Political position Centre-right[3][4]
European affiliation None
International affiliation None
Colours Yellow, Black
Federal Council
0 / 7
National Council
7 / 200
Council of States
1 / 46
Cantonal legislatures
77 / 2,608

The Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland (German: Bürgerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz, BDP; French: Parti bourgeois démocratique suisse, PBD; Italian: Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero, PBD; Romansh: About this sound Partida burgais democratica Svizra PBD , PBD; all translations mean literally Citizens' Democratic Party of Switzerland) is a conservative political party in Switzerland. Since the 2015 General election, the BDP has seven members in the National Council and one in the Council of States.

It was founded as a moderate splinter group from the national conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP), and was founded as a political party on the federal level on 1 November 2008.[5] It is led by Martin Landolt, and had, until January 2016, one Federal Councillor, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, whose election in defiance of the SVP incumbent Christoph Blocher led to the creation of the party. It comprises most of the SVP's old centrist-agrarian wing, which had been overshadowed in recent years by its nationalist-activist wing.

The party's name in German, French, Italian and Romansh comes from "bourgeois," the traditional European term for a centre-right party.


Soon after Widmer-Schlumpf's election as a Federal Councillor, the SVP excluded both her and the SVP's other Federal Councillor, Samuel Schmid, from the party group. Schmid, like Widmer-Schlumpf, was a member of the SVP's moderate wing, and the SVP's dominant national wing reckoned them both as unrepresentative of the SVP'S populist campaigns. Some SVP members demanded that Widmer-Schlumpf and Schmid be thrown out of the party altogether. However, Swiss parties are legally federations of cantonal parties, and the SVP could not expel them directly. For them to have been expelled, the party's Graubünden and Bern sections, to which Widmer-Schlumpf and Schmid belong respectively, would have had to expel them.

On 2 April 2008 the national SVP leadership called upon Widmer-Schlumpf to resign from the Federal Council at once and to leave the party. When Widmer-Schlumpf declined to do so, the national SVP demanded that that the Graubünden branch expel her. The Graubünden section stood by Widener-Schlumpf, and was expelled from the national SVP on June 1.

On 16 June 2008, the delegates' convention of the SVP's former Graubünden branch reorganised itself as the first cantonal section of the BDP, changing its name to BPS Graubünden.[6] A second cantonal section was founded in Bern on 21 June 2008 under the name BDP;[6][7] the change from BPS to BDP was due to a name conflict with the extant minor party Bürgerpartei Schweiz (Citizen's Party of Switzerland), which has the same acronym BPS. As a result, the BPS Graubünden also changed its name to BDP Graubünden.[8][9] Soon afterward, nearly all of the SVP's Bern section, including Schmid, defected to the new party.

Eleven other cantonal branches have been founded, predominantly in German-speaking Switzerland: Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Fribourg, Glarus, Lucerne, Schwyz, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Valais, and Zürich.

Political positions[edit]

The BDP supports bilateral accords with the European Union, and it opposes the tightening of Switzerland's asylum.[10] It opposes additional benefits to health insurance, although it doesn't necessarily support limiting them.[10] It supports the raising of the retirement age.[10] It opposes any relaxation to requirements to receive social welfare.[10] It supports same-sex marriage.[10]


Percentages of BDP in district elections, 2011.

BDP has one seat in the Federal Council, one in the Council of States, and 7 out of the 200 seats in the National Council.

Seventeen members of the Grand Council of Bern defected to the BDP from the SVP. In the 2010 election, the number of BDP councillors increased to 25, making the BDP the third-largest party in Bern, behind the SVP and Social Democratic Party

Having been founded by the mass defection of the local SVP, the Conservative Democrats are also the third-largest delegation in the Grand Council of Graubünden, with 30 seats, behind the Christian Democratic People's Party and FDP.The Liberals. The BDP is also the third-largest party in the Cantonal Council of neighbouring Glarus, with ten of the legislature's sixty seats.

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]