Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
|Members in Federal Council||Simonetta Sommaruga
|Founded||October 21, 1888|
|Youth wing||Young Socialists Switzerland|
|Political position||Centre-left to Left-wing|
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists (associate)|
|International affiliation||Socialist International
2 / 7
43 / 200
|Council of States||
11 / 46
456 / 2,609
The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (also rendered as Swiss Socialist Party; German: Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz, SP; French: Parti socialiste suisse, PS; Italian: Partito Socialista Svizzero; Romansh: Partida Socialdemocrata de la Svizra) is a political party in Switzerland.
The party was founded on 21 October 1888, and is currently the second largest of the four leading coalition political parties in Switzerland. It is the only left-wing party with representatives in the Swiss Federal Council. It is also the second largest political party in the Swiss parliament. The current members in the Swiss Federal Council are: Alain Berset and Simonetta Sommaruga.
The SP is the biggest pro-European party in Switzerland and supports Swiss membership of the European Union, unlike most other Swiss parties and is in strong opposition to capitalism. The party is a full member of the Socialist International, the Progressive Alliance, and an associate affiliate of the Party of European Socialists.
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With its foundation in October 1888, the Social Democratic Party was considered to be the main opposition to the Radicals in government and parliament. After the unsuccessful General strike in 1918, proportional representation was introduced which helped the SP gain 41 seats in parliament. The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1927 and 1940. After the strike the party took a softer line and in 1943 it became the strongest party in parliament, finally gaining a seat in the cabinet. A second seat followed in 1959. The party's historical archives is today hosted by the Swiss Social Archives.
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The SP supports classical social democratic policies. To that rule, the SP stands for a government offering strong public services. The SP is against far-reaching economic liberalism, in favor of social progressivism, environmental policy with climate change mitigation, for an open foreign policy, and a national security policy based on pacifism.
In economic, financial, and social welfare policy, the SP rejects policies of economic liberalization such as deregulation, lowering taxes for high-income citizens, and decreases in government spending on social insurance. The SP also opposes raising the retirement age. In addition, the SP is a proponent of increasing welfare spending in some areas such as for a publicly financed maternity leave, universal health care and a flexible retirement age. In tax policy the SP opposes the notion of lowering taxes for high-income citizens. By campaigning for the harmonisation of all tax rates in Switzerland, the SP seeks more redistribution. The SP is skeptical toward the privatization of state enterprises. Nonetheless, the SP also promotes more competition in the areas of agriculture and parallel imports.
In social policy, the SP is committed to social equity and an open society. Thus, the SP aims at making working conditions for women in families easier by promoting more external childcare centers and more opportunities for part-time jobs. It also aims at reinforcing sexual equality in terms of eliminating wage differences based on gender, supports civil union for homosexuals and takes an easier stance toward abortions. The SP also rejects strengthening restrictions on asylum seekers and immigrants. Thus, it supports the integration of immigrants by which the immigrants are assigned to immigration procedures immediately after entering the country. The SP has a liberal stance toward drugs and is in favor of publicly regulated heroin consumption and the legalization of cannabis. Nevertheless, the SP supports the smoking ban in restaurants and bars.
In foreign policy the SP promotes further participation by Switzerland in international organizations. It supports immediate entry of Switzerland into the European Union. The SP also stands for a less strict neutrality of Switzerland, and supports increased international efforts on the part of Switzerland in the areas of peace and human rights. However, the SP supports keeping the military neutrality and opposes entry into NATO. Its pacifist stance is also reflected in its military policy: The SP supports reducing the number of Swiss militia while making the military apparatus more professional and scrapping conscription. Another demand of the SP is to end the tradition of gun ownership, using severe and recent examples of abuse in terms of murder as proof.
Together with the Green Party of Switzerland, the Social Democrats have common environmentalist policies, which are reflected in the expansion of ecotax reforms and increased state support for energy saving measures and renewable energies. The SP is against the construction of new roads where possible and instead proposes to shift the transportation of goods from the roads to the railways and the introduction of a cap and trade and traffic management system when it comes to transportation across the Swiss Alps. Furthermore, the SP stands for an expansion of the public transportation system network and opposes nuclear energy.
In 2003, it held 52 mandates (out of 200) in the Swiss National Council (first chamber of the Swiss parliament); 9 (out of 46) in the second chamber and 2 out of 7 mandates in the Swiss Federal Council (executive body). By 2005, it held 23.8% of the seats in the Swiss Cantonal governments and 23.2% in the Swiss Cantonal parliaments (index "BADAC", weighted with the population and number of seats). At the latest legislative elections on 18 October 2015, the party won 18.8% of the popular vote and 43 out of 200 seats.
Parliamentary election results
46 / 200
55 / 200
51 / 200
47 / 200
41 / 200
41 / 200
54 / 200
51 / 200
52 / 200
43 / 200
46 / 200
43 / 200
Party strength over time
Percentage of the total vote for the Social Democratic Party in Federal Elections 1971-2015
- 1.^a * indicates that the party was not on the ballot in this canton.
- 2.^b Part of the Canton of Bern until 1979.
|Since 2008||Christian Levrat|
Members of the Swiss Federal Council
|Since 2010||Simonetta Sommaruga|
|Since 2011||Alain Berset|
Notes and references
- The Swiss Confederation – a brief guide 2010. Swiss Confederation. 2010. p. 19.
- Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- René Schwok (2009). "Why Switzerland Refused to Join the European Union". Switzerland--European Union: An Impossible Membership?. Peter Lang. p. 119. ISBN 978-90-5201-576-7.
- "Switzerland - Political parties | European Election Database (EED)". nsd.uib.no. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
- Ladner, Andreas (2013). Die Positionierung der Schweizer Parteien im internationalen Vergleich. Die Parteien in Bewegung: Nachbarschaft und Konflikte (NZZ Libro). p. 213.
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (2015). Switzerland--Country Overview. The Economist. p. 1.
- (German) SP hält an «Überwindung des Kapitalismus» fest - Entscheidung 11 - SF. Entscheidung 11. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.[dead link]
- Progressive Politics For A Fairer World. Socialist International. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
- "Participants | Progressive Alliance". Progressive-alliance.info. 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
- PES member parties | PES. Pes.eu. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
- Social Democratic Party. swissinfo.ch (2007-11-30). Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
- Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 323
- Bundesamt für Statistik. "Nationalratswahlen: Übersicht Schweiz". Retrieved 2015-10-19.
- Grossenbacher, Timo (2015-09-30). "Party strongholds and political battlefields 1971−2011 - SWI". Swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
- Nationalratswahlen 2015: Der Wandel der Parteienlandschaft seit 1971 (Report). Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2015.