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)
PresidentMartin Landolt
Founded1 November 2008
Dissolved31 December 2020 (2020-12-31)
Split fromSwiss People's Party
Merged intoThe Centre
HeadquartersPostfach 119
CH-3000 Bern 6
Membership (2015)6,500[1]
IdeologyFiscal conservatism
Political positionCentre[1] to centre-right[2][3]
Colours  Yellow (official)
  Black (customary)

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: Partida burgais democratica Svizra PBD , PBD; Swiss Democratic Bourgeois Party) was a conservative[4][5] political party in Switzerland from 2008 to 2020. After the 2019 federal election, the BDP had three members in the National Council.

It was founded as a moderate splinter group from the national-conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC); it was created as a political party on the federal level on 1 November 2008.[6] It was led by Martin Landolt. It had, until January 2016, one Federal Councillor, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, whose election in defiance of the SVP/UDC incumbent Christoph Blocher led to the creation of the party. It comprised most of the SVP/UDC'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 came from "bourgeois", the traditional European term for a centre-right party.

On 1 January 2021,[7] the party merged with the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) to form the new party The Centre (DM/LC).[8][9][10][11] Cantonal parties were allowed to continue operating under the existing BDP/PBD name.


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

On 2 April 2008 the national SVP/UDC leadership called for Widmer-Schlumpf to immediately resign from both the Federal Council and the party. When Widmer-Schlumpf declined to do so, the national SVP/UDC demanded that the Grisons branch expel her. The Grisons section stood by Widmer-Schlumpf, but she was expelled from the national SVP/UDC on the following 1 June.

On 16 June 2008, the delegates' convention of the SVP/UDC's former Grisons branch voted to change its name to BPS Graubünden (Conservative Party of Switzerland-Graubünden), becoming the first cantonal section of what would become the BDP/PBD.[12] A second cantonal section was founded in Bern on 21 June 2008 under the name BDP/PBD (Conservative Democratic Party);[12][13] 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 Grisons branch also changed its name to BDP Graubünden.[14][15] Soon afterward, nearly all of the SVP/UDC's Bern section, including Schmid, defected to the new party.

Eleven other cantonal branches were 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 supported bilateral accords with the European Union, and it opposed the tightening of Switzerland's asylum.[16] It opposed additional benefits to health insurance, although it did not necessarily support limiting them.[16] The BDP supported the raising of the retirement age,[16] opposed any relaxation to requirements to receive social welfare,[16] and supported same-sex marriage.[16] The party favoured of a gradual nuclear power phase-out.

Electoral history[edit]

Percentages of BDP in district elections, 2011.

In 2019, the BDP had one seat in the Council of States, and 3 out of the 200 seats in the National Council.

Upon the BDP's founding, seventeen members of the Grand Council of Bern defected 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 the Social Democratic Party.

Having been founded by the mass defection of the local SVP, the Conservative Democrats were 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 also was the third-largest party in the Cantonal Council of neighbouring Glarus, with ten of the legislature's sixty seats.

After the BDP lost four seats in the 2019 election and therefore, its status as an own parliamentary group, the remaining three parliamentarians decided to join a parliamentary group together with the CVP and the EVP, two other moderate parties.[17]

National Council and Council of States[edit]

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of National Council
seats won
+/- # of Council of States
seats won
+/- Notes
2011 132,279 5.4
9 / 200
New party
1 / 46
New party
2015[18] 103,476 4.1
7 / 200
Decrease 2
1 / 46
2019 59,206 2.4
3 / 200
Decrease 4
0 / 46
Decrease 1

Party strength by canton[edit]

Canton 2011 2015 2019
Percentage of the total vote for the Conservative Democratic Party in Federal Elections, 2011–2019[19]
Switzerland 5.4 4.1 2.4
Zürich 5.3 3.6 1.6
Bern 14.9 11.8 8.0
Lucerne 2.1 1.4 *a
Schwyz 3.4 * *
Glarus 61.7 51.5 63.0
Fribourg 1.9 1.3 0.7
Solothurn 4.4 3.4 2.0
Basel-Stadt 2.2 1.1 0.4
Basel-Landschaft 6.4 2.8 1.2
St. Gallen 3.8 3.6 0.6
Graubünden 20.5 14.5 9.1
Aargau 6.1 5.1 3.1
Thurgau 5.0 3.8 2.3
Vaud 0.8 1.8 0.4
Valais 0.6 * *
Neuchâtel 1.5 1.0 *
Genève * 1.0 0.4
1.^a * indicates that the party was not on the ballot in this canton.

Party presidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Swiss Confederation – a brief guide. Switzerland: Swiss Confederation: Federal Chancellery. 2016. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Zeitstrahl: Die BDP - Von der Rechts- zur Mitte-Partei: Mitte-Partei BDP legt ein Feuerwerk hin", Entscheidung11 (in German), Schweizer Fernsehen, retrieved 1 February 2012
  3. ^ "Die politische Mitte splittert sich zusehends auf", (in German), retrieved 1 February 2012
  4. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Switzerland". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  5. ^ Bale, Tim (2021). Riding the populist wave: Europe's mainstream right in crisis. Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-009-00686-6. OCLC 1256593260.
  6. ^ "Die BDP Schweiz wird am 1. November gegründet". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). 30 August 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  7. ^ Europe Elects [@EuropeElects] (2 January 2021). "Switzerland: Yesterday, CVP (EPP) and BDP (*) merged" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2 January 2022. Retrieved 2 January 2022 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "CVP schliesst sich mit BDP zur "Die Mitte" zusammen". Swissinfo (in German). 28 November 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  9. ^ "BDP-Delegierte sagen Ja zum Zusammenschluss mit der CVP". Suedostschweiz (in German). 14 November 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  10. ^ "CVP und BDP sind ab 2021 «Die Mitte»". Schweizer Bauer (in German). 29 November 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  11. ^ Wientzek, Olaf (1 December 2020). "Historic day for Swiss Christian Democrats – Merger and Farewell to the "C"". Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  12. ^ a b "SVP Graubünden mit neuem Namen" (in German). SF. 16 June 2008.
  13. ^ Abspaltung von der Berner SVP vollzogen (Schweiz, NZZ Online)
  14. ^ - SVP-Spaltung perfekt Archived 2012-07-30 at
  15. ^ Bündner SVP-Abspaltung übernimmt Namen der Berner (Schweiz, NZZ Online)
  16. ^ a b c d e "Swiss Political Parties Reveal Their Colours". Swissinfo. September 11, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  17. ^ "Drei Parteien – eine Fraktion - CVP, EVP und BDP spannen zusammen". 8 November 2019.
  18. ^ Bundesamt für Statistik. "Nationalratswahlen: Übersicht Schweiz". Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  19. ^ Nationalratswahlen: Kantonale Parteistärke, zusammengefasst nach Parteien (Kanton = 100%) (Report). Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-06.

External links[edit]