2015 Swiss federal election

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2015 Swiss federal election
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All 200 seats in the National Council (101 seats needed for a majority)
All 46 seats in the Council of States (24 seats needed for a majority)
Turnout48.5% Steady 0.0 pp
Party Leader % Seats +/–
National Council
Swiss People's Toni Brunner 29.4% 65 +11
Social Democrats Christian Levrat 18.8% 43 −3
FDP.The Liberals Philipp Müller 16.4% 33 +3
Christian Democrats Christophe Darbellay 11.6% 27 −1
Greens Adèle Thorens
Regula Rytz
7.1% 11 −4
Green Liberals Martin Bäumle 4.6% 7 −5
BDP Martin Landolt 4.1% 7 −2
Evangelical People's Marianne Streiff 1.9% 2 0
Ticino League Attilio Bignasca 1.0% 2 0
Labour Gavriel Pinson 0.4% 1 +1
CSP Obwalden Sepp Stalder 0.4% 1 0
Geneva Citizens' Roger Golay 0.3% 1 0
Council of States
Christian Democrats 13 0
FDP.The Liberals 13 +2
Social Democrats 12 +1
Swiss People's 5 0
Greens 1 −1
BDP 1 0
Independent 1 0
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.

Federal elections were held in Switzerland on 18 October 2015 for the National Council and the first round of elections to the Council of States, with runoff elections to the Council of States being held in various cantons until 22 November.[1][2]

Results showed a shift, due to voter concerns regarding refugee immigration, to the right and increased support for the three largest parties, with the strong showing of Swiss People's Party and FDP.The Liberals possibly affecting future reforms of energy, social security and tax issues, as well as the make-up of the seven-member government.[3][4][5]

The Swiss People's Party won a record number of seats, taking a third of the 200-seat lower house. The SVP received the highest proportion of votes of any Swiss political party since 1919, when proportional representation was first introduced,[6] and it received more seats in the National Council than any other political party since 1963, when the number of seats was set at 200.[7]

The federal election was followed by the 2015 Swiss Federal Council election on 9 December 2015, where the SVP won a second seat on the Federal Council.[8]

Electoral system[edit]

The 200 members of the National Council were elected by plurality in six single-member constituencies, and by proportional representation in 20 multi-member constituencies, with the 26 constituencies being the 26 cantons.[9] The elections were held using the open list system where voters could cross out names on party lists, with voters also able to split their vote between parties (a system known as panachage) or draw up their own list on a blank ballot. Seats are allocated using the Hagenbach-Bischoff system.[10]

The 46 members of the Council of States were elected in 20 two-seat constituencies (representing the 20 full cantons) and six single-member constituencies (representing the six half-cantons). In Jura and Neuchâtel the elections were held using proportional representation. In the other cantons, councilors are elected through an up to two-round system of voting. In the first round of voting, candidates must obtain an absolute majority of the vote in order to be elected. If no candidate receives an absolute majority in the first round of voting then a second round is held in which a simple plurality is sufficient to be elected. The top two finishing candidates are elected in the second round.[11][12]

Compulsory voting was in force in the canton of Schaffhausen for both elections.[13]


The parties contesting the elections were:

Political party Leader Political spectrum
Swiss People's Party (SVP) Toni Brunner Right-wing
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) Christian Levrat Centre-left to left-wing
FDP.The Liberals (FDP) Philipp Müller Centre-right
Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (CVP/PDC) Christophe Darbellay Centre to centre-right
Green Party of Switzerland (GPS) Adèle Thorens, Regula Rytz Left-wing
Green Liberal Party of Switzerland (glp) Martin Bäumle Centre
Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland (BDP) Martin Landolt Centre to centre-right
Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland (EVP) Marianne Streiff Centre
Ticino League (TL) Attilio Bignasca Right-wing
Alternative Left (AL) Frédéric Charpié Left-wing
Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU) Hans Moser Right-wing
Christian Social Party (Switzerland) (CSP) Marius Achermann Centre-left
Geneva Citizens' Movement (MCG) Roger Golay Right-wing

Opinion polls[edit]

18 October 2015 2015 Elections 29.4% 18.8% 16.4% 11.6% 7.1% 4.1% 4.6% 1.9% 1.2% 1.2% 1.0% 0.2% 0.3% 10.6%
2 October 2015 Sotomo/20min[permanent dead link] 29.0% 18.4% 15.8% 11.4% 7.4% 4.9% 5.2% 7.9% 10.6%
16 September 2015 Sotomo/20min[permanent dead link] 29.0% 17.6% 16.8% 11.2% 6.9% 4.9% 5.1% 11.4%
21–28 August 15 GfS Berne/SSR[permanent dead link] 28.0% 19.3% 16.9% 11.1% 7.4% 4.2% 4.3% 1.7% 7.1% 8.7%
24 June 2015 20min/Somoto[permanent dead link] 27.6% 18.2% 16.4% 12.0% 6.8% 4.9% 5.0% 13.0% 9.4%
24 June 2015 GfS Berne/SSR 26.1% 19.3% 17.1% 11.5% 7.4% 4.4% 4.8% 1.9% 1.1% 0.9% 5.5% 6.8%
31 March 2015 GfS Berne/SSR 26.2% 19.6% 16.3% 11.8% 7.5% 4.6% 5.6% 1.9% 1.0% 0.8% 4.7% 6.5%
21 December 2014 Léger Marketing/Le Matin 23.8% 19.8% 15.7% 12.4% 8.2% 7.2% 7.4% 6.0%
3 October 2014 GfS Berne/Le Temps 24.6% 20.1% 15.8% 11.2% 7.3% 4.8% 7.3% 1.8% 1.4% 1% 4.7% 4.5%
30 March 2014 Léger Marketing/Le Matin 25% 19.4% 15.2% 12.2% 7.4% 6.9% 6.6% 5.6%
27 September 2013 GfS Berne/SSR[permanent dead link] 25.8% 18.7% 14.7% 11.7% 8.3% 7.5% 5.8% 1.8% 1.2% 1.0% 1.0% 2.5% 7.1%
15 September 2013 Isopublic/Le Matin 24.3% 19.6% 14.1% 13.1% 7.3% 6.1% 6.6% 4.7%
21 October 2012 Isopublic/Blick[permanent dead link] 23.7% 19.5% 15.9% 12.9% 8.2% 6.9% 7.0% 4.2%
16 September 2012 Isopublic/Le Matin 23.9% 19.3% 16.3% 13% 8.2% 6.2% 7.7% 4.6%
25 March 2012 Isopublic/Le Matin 23.7% 19.9% 15.8% 12.1% 8.2% 7.0% 7.5% 3.8%
23 October 2011 2011 Elections 26.6% 18.7% 15.1% 12.3% 8.4% 5.4% 5.4% 2% 0.9% 1.3% 0.8% 0.3% 0.4% 7.9%


Global media commented on the gains of the Swiss People's Party, linking it to concerns of the electorate on the European migrant crisis.[7][14][15][16] Combined, right-of-centre parties received a slim 101-seat majority in the National Council.[5][6] While the right-of-centre SVP and FDP made gains, centrist and left-of-centre parties lost seats in the National Council.[17][18] The FDP increased its share of the popular vote for the first time since the 1979 federal election.[18]

In the Swiss capital Bern, a group of activists in favour of settling refugees held a demonstration on the day of the election, which is prohibited by law. A total of 110 were arrested.[19]

The election results elicited various responses from the Swiss media, such as that the election represented "a return to normality" after a period when the legislative makeup was not as clear, or that it represented "a divided country."[20][21] Newspapers, both in Switzerland and in other countries, also noted the SVP's historic gains.[21]

National Council[edit]

Swiss People's Party734,17129.4365+11
Social Democratic Party470,33918.8643−3
FDP.The Liberals408,79316.3933+3
Christian Democratic People's Party289,71911.6127−1
Green Party176,0757.0611−4
Green Liberal Party115,6044.637−5
Conservative Democratic Party102,5984.117−2
Evangelical People's Party47,3551.9020
Federal Democratic Union29,7011.1900
Ticino League24,7130.9920
Swiss Party of Labour1+1
Pirate Party10,3730.4200
Christian Social Party of Obwalden9,9110.4010
Alternative List8,9080.3600
Geneva Citizens' Movement8,0690.3210
Christian Social Party5,2070.2100
Swiss Democrats3,0520.1200
Enabling Democracy2,7760.1100
Art + Politics2,3070.0900
Integral Policy1,8830.0800
Animal Party Switzerland1,7960.0700
Alpine Parliament1,3240.0500
Blank Vote List1,2660.0500
Philipp Jutzi1,1990.0500
Direct Democratic Party9420.0400
Communist Party9070.0400
Stop Traffic Jams and Speed Camera Terror - The List of Drivers8210.0300
Swiss Nationalist Party7920.0300
Popular Action Against too Many Foreigners and Asylum Seekers6980.0300
Green Independents6560.0300
Seeds of the Future4580.0200
Independent Swiss4510.0200
Sarah Bösch – The Original3790.0200
Rauraque du Nord3760.0200
New Liberal Party3470.0100
The Swiss Independence Party up!2840.0100
Vaud Independents2740.0100
Fluffy Hans-Ueli (Hemp-Ueli)2670.0100
Social Liberal Movement2450.0100
Marcel Giger Amden Independent2420.0100
El Presidente2310.0100
Center Party2050.0100
Patriotic Liberal Democrats1350.0100
Anti-PowerPoint Party1250.0100
DU – The Apolitical1230.0000
Solution Oriented People's Movement1180.0000
Lega Sud1040.0000
I Liberisti830.0000
Mouvement Democratique Cademos630.0000
Impossible Alternative510.0000
Swiss Freedom and Justice480.0000
Other parties1,3210.0500
Valid votes2,494,41798.93
Invalid/blank votes27,0851.07
Total votes2,521,502100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,295,50647.62
Source: Statistics Switzerland, Elections 2015, IFES

Council of States[edit]

Christian Democratic People's Party130
FDP.The Liberals13+2
Social Democratic Party12+1
Swiss People's Party50
Green Party1−1
Conservative Democratic Party10
Green Liberal Party0−2
Source: Statistics Switzerland

By canton[edit]

Canton Seat 1 Party Seat 2 Party
ZH Zurich Daniel Jositsch Social Democratic Party Ruedi Noser FDP.The Liberals
BE Berne Werner Luginbühl* Conservative Democratic Party Hans Stöckli* Social Democratic Party
LU Lucerne Konrad Graber* Christian Democratic People's Party Damian Müller FDP.The Liberals
UR Uri Isidor Baumann* Christian Democratic People's Party Josef Dittli FDP.The Liberals
SZ Schwyz Peter Föhn* Swiss People's Party Alex Kuprecht* Swiss People's Party
OW Obwald Hans Wicki FDP.The Liberals N/A
NW Nidwald Erich Ettlin Christian Democratic People's Party N/A
GL Glaris Thomas Hefti FDP.The Liberals Werner Hösli Swiss People's Party
ZG Zoug Joachim Eder* FDP.The Liberals Peter Hegglin Christian Democratic People's Party
FR Friburg Christian Levrat* Social Democratic Party Beat Vonlanthen Christian Democratic People's Party
SO Soleure Pirmin Bischof* Christian Democratic People's Party Roberto Zanetti* Social Democratic Party
BS Basle-City Anita Fetz* Social Democratic Party N/A
BL Basle-Country Claude Janiak* Social Democratic Party N/A
SH Schaffhouse Hannes Germann* Swiss People's Party Thomas Minder* Independent
AR Appenzell Outer-Rhodes Andrea Caroni FDP.The Liberals N/A
AI Appenzell Inner-Rhodes Ivo Bischofberger* Christian Democratic People's Party N/A
SG St Gall Karin Keller-Sutter* FDP.The Liberals Paul Rechsteiner* Social Democratic Party
GR Grisons Stefan Engler* Christian Democratic People's Party Martin Schmid* FDP.The Liberals
AG Argovia Pascale Bruderer* Social Democratic Party Philipp Müller FDP.The Liberals
TG Thurgovia Roland Eberle* Swiss People's Party Brigitte Häberli-Koller* Christian Democratic People's Party
TI Tessin Fabio Abate* FDP.The Liberals Filippo Lombardi* Christian Democratic People's Party
VD Vaud Olivier Français FDP.The Liberals Géraldine Savary* Social Democratic Party
VS Valais Jean-René Fournier* Christian Democratic People's Party Beat Rieder Christian Democratic People's Party
NE Neuchâtel Didier Berberat* Social Democratic Party Raphaël Comte* FDP.The Liberals
GE Geneva Robert Cramer* Green Party Liliane Maury Pasquier* Social Democratic Party
JU Jura Claude Hêche* Social Democratic Party Anne Seydoux-Christe* Christian Democratic People's Party
* indicates a candidate that was re-elected. Source: Statistics Switzerland


The 2015 federal election was followed by the 2015 Swiss Federal Council election on 9 December 2015.[8]

Owing to the results of the federal election, Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, a member of the Conservative Democratic Party (BDP), announced she would not run for re-election, as the Swiss People's Party (SVP) won a record percentage of the vote, while her own party decreased its share.[22] The SVP was widely expected to fill her seat in the election, and it chose Thomas Aeschi (Zug), Guy Parmelin (Vaud) and Norman Gobbi (Ticino) as candidates for the seat, with Aeschi being the favorite at the time.[23][24]

Guy Parmelin, of the SVP, was ultimately elected on 9 December.[8] Parmelin, a farmer and winegrower from Bursins in canton Vaud, was the first member of the Federal Council who is also a member of the Swiss People's Party from the French-speaking part of Switzerland.[8][25]

There was a minor cabinet reshuffle after the election, as newly elected Parmelin was selected to become head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports, replacing fellow SVP-member Ueli Maurer, who became head of the Federal Department of Finance.[26] The SVP gained its second seat in the Federal Council, which it had lost in 2008, when the newly created BDP split from the SVP.


  1. ^ "Parties Manoeuvre for Seats in Swiss Senate". The Local. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Final Composition of Swiss Parliament Emerges". Swissinfo. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Homepage Elections 2015". Archived from the original on 15 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  4. ^ Duc-Nguyen, Quang (22 October 2015). "Parliament's Shift to the Right, in Figures". Swissinfo. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Geiser, Urs. "Parliament shifts to the right". Swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b Gerber, Marlène; Mueller, Sean (23 October 2015). "4 Cool Graphs that Explain Sunday's Swiss Elections". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Anti-immigration party wins Swiss election in 'slide to the Right'". The Daily Telegraph. Reuters. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d Mombelli, Armando (December 10, 2015). "People's Party Gains Second Seat in Cabinet". Swissinfo. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Swiss Confederation Archived 2018-10-12 at the Wayback Machine seat allocations are for the 2019 election, but the page also provides the seat changes from the 2015 election
  10. ^ Electoral system IPU
  11. ^ "Elections 2015:How the elections to the Council of States are organised: process, rules and principal stages". ch.ch – A service of the Confederation, cantons and communes (official site). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Confederation. Archived from the original on 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  12. ^ Electoral system IPU
  13. ^ Compulsory voting around the world Archived 2015-04-04 at the Wayback Machine. The Electoral Commission
  14. ^ "Anti-immigration SVP wins Swiss election in big swing to right". BBC News. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  15. ^ Larson, Nina (19 October 2015). "Swiss parliament shifts to right in vote dominated by migrant fears". Yahoo!. AFP. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Amid rising fears over refugees, far-right party gains ground in Swiss election". Deutsche Welle. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  17. ^ Revill, John (October 19, 2015). "Swiss Right Makes Gains in Election". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Nationalratswahlen 2015: Analyse". bfs.admin.ch (in German). December 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  19. ^ "Polizei nimmt 110 Personen auf die Wache" [Police take 110 people to the police station]. Blick (in German). 18 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Swiss National Elections: 'Return to Normality'?". The Local. October 19, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Stephens, Thomas (October 19, 2016). "Fear and Isolation in a 'Divided Land'". Swissinfo. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Jaberg, Samuel; Stephens, Thomas (October 28, 2015). "Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf to Stand Down". Swissinfo. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  23. ^ "People's Party Posts Candidates for Cabinet Seat". Swissinfo. November 20, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "People's Party Tightens Grip on Second Cabinet Seat". Swissinfo. October 28, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  25. ^ Bradley, Simon (December 10, 2015). "Wary Press Split Over Farmer Parmelin". Swissinfo. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "People's Party finally nails finance minister job". Swissinfo. December 11, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2016.

External links[edit]