Friday, December 14, 2007

Elections 2007 finally over.

With the recent elections to the federal council (with Federal Councillor Blocher having been voted out - YES!!) the 2007 election cycle is now definitely over. The Swiss Greens won big time and gained 7 seats in the National Council. Furthermore, for the first time in history, the Greens also gained two seats in the Council of States. Here's the new Green Faction in the National and States' Council.

As for the (i.e. me), I didn't quite make it into the National Council. Our list garnered a few thousand votes but way off the required quorum to make a seat. Dammit!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Upcoming elections

OK, here we are. The next general elections that I told you about (here) are imminent! If you're a Swiss Abroad and haven't registered for voting in Switzerland yet, now might be a good time to consider doing it. And this means NOW! It's perhaps best to check the voting refresher on how to register and vote for your favourite Green list.

The election site for the Swiss Greens is

...and while we're at it. If you happen to be registered in the Canton of Berne and don't quite know who to vote for, the (that would be me) is running on the ballot of the Green Party of Berne/Democratic Alternative (GPB/DA) as number eight (see ballot). Visit the corresponding election sites ("true color" in German) and ("genuine green" in French) for details. They should be up and running soon.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sign the people's intiative for the prohibition of exporting war materials

The Swiss Greens support the people's initiative to prohibit the export of war materials.

Here's an excerpt of a brief on why this initiative was launched:

Swiss arms kill - worldwide

Arms are not products like any other: they are made to kill people as efficiently as possible.
Arms exports make wars escalate. Even neutral Switzerland is deeply involved in the death trade.

Between 2003 and 2005 Switzerland exported arms worth 1.04 billion (thousand million) Swiss francs. 78% of this trade went to countries that take part in the "War on Terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By exporting war materials Switzerland is turning into an accomplice in a war that is fought by the USA and its allies for chiefly economic reasons.


Even authoritarian regimes are supported by arms exports from Switzerland, for example the rulers of Saudi-Arabia and Egypt who violently suppress their democratic opposition.
The interests of the arms lobby are more important to the Federal Council and parliament than Human Rights and democracy. Therefore we need the Initiative to prohibit exporting war material.

More here [PDF, in German]

Get signing sheets in German or French

Notes for signing the initiative:

  • Only those who are registered to vote can sign the initiative (see voting refresher).
  • Each voter signs on a separate sheet.
  • Enter the name of the municipality from where the voter receives his/her voting materials into the field labelled "Politische Gemeinde".
  • Enter the voter's full address (street, town, postal code, country) in the signing field.

More info on the initiative and ballots: [DE] [FR] [IT]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

National referendum on September 24

Asylum bill and Foreigner bill

The Greens are co-initiators of the referendums against the two bills. Therefore, the assembly of delegates voted unanimously on June 24 in Lausanne to recommend 2 x NO to the two bills.

National demonstration against Xenophobia (June 17, 2006)

More info on the two bills [DE] [FR] [IT]

Friday, April 28, 2006

How to vote in National Elections: FAQ and Refresher

The next General Elections for Switzerland's National and State Council are not exactly imminent (Oktober 21, 2007) but you can never be too early in preparing yourself for the occasion. That's why is posting below a brief guide on voting in Switzerland. There are a few subliminal messages buried in it as to ease your burden of choice when election day comes, which I hope you'll excuse. Everything in life has a purpose, and so does this guide. Enjoy.

How can I vote?

First, as a Swiss abroad you need to be registered to vote. If you aren't, it might be a good idea to get yourself registered soon. Contact your residential country's Swiss embassy on how to register (you can also find information on the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) site) . You'll be registered as a voter in the town/village where you have "ties" to of some sort (e.g. you lived there before you left the country, your parents live there, etc.). Your vote will be counted like a resident's of that place, i.e. there isn't a special "Swiss Abroad" vote count.

What is the fastest/easiest way to vote for a party?

Tear off the list of the party of your choice (i.e. the Greens *hint* *hint*) and stuff it into the envelope provided. Modifications (striking, doubling names) are usually unnecessary, because the lists are carefully prepared by the parties (where "prepared" is an euphemism for "battled-over" :-). Incidentally, the initial estimates published by the voting districts are usually based on the number of unmodified ballots.

What if I don't like a candidate?

You can strike the name of a candidate you dislike. Note that the party still receives the vote (empty lines are still a vote for the party). See the Refresher.

What if I like one or several candidate(s) from a different list (or different lists)?

You can replace a candidate on a printed list by one from a different list by striking a name on the list and writing the other candidate's number and full name in its place. This way, the other candidate and the candidate's party get the vote. See the Refresher.

Can I push a candidate I like particularly?

There's only little slack in the system for "tactical voting". You can "double" a candidate to give him/her two votes instead of only one (see Refresher).

The most you can do to promote one or a few candidates of a party is to follow this procedure: take the empty ballot, write the name of the party on top (thus giving it all party votes on the list), and then "double" the names of all candidates you like (i.e. write each on two lines). Giving the party all the votes slightly increases the chances that there's a spare seat for your candidate(s) to occupy, and "doubling" your candidates will give each of them "2 votes more" (i.e. 2 instead of 0) than everybody else on their list. Not quite a truckload, but every bit counts, especially, if you band together in your family or among friends :-)

Can I vote for someone who's not on a list?

No, you can't. The lists have to be submitted by the parties for approval at the electoral offices in the cantons, together with a certain number of signatures of voters endorsing the list (e.g. 400 signatories in Zürich). This is to avoid hoax lists such as "Beer Drinker's Association" or "Enlightenment and Plurality", usually carrying only a few candidates -- and gathering only a handful of votes. You can vote for any of the candidates on any of the lists, but only for those.

Can I vote for the guy who makes these pages?

You'd have to convince the Greens of the Canton of Zurich to put him on their ballot (he's registered in Zurich). I can assist you with that ... ;-)

Election Refresher

In Switzerland, there's an electoral system of proportional representation where seats in parliament are allocated to parties according to their strength (number of ballots cast for the party). After it is established how many seats each of the parties gets, a particular party's seats are assigned to the candidates with the most votes.

A ballot list contains a number of lines, usually pre-filled with the names of some party's candidates. The number of lines reflects the number of representatives that that particular canton can send to Berne (e.g. ZH has 34 members of parliament. Therefore, there are 34 lines on the ballot).

Each line of the ballot represents both a vote for the candidate on that line and a vote for the candidate's party. Empty lines still represent a vote for the party whose name is on top of the list. If there's no party name there (as is on the blank ballot unless you add one) these votes are lost. Remember, that it's the number of party votes that determines how many candidates a party can send to Berne.

A ballot must have at least one name on it, i.e. striking all names or filling-in just a party name on the blank ballot without also adding a name voids the ballot. If a ballot carries more names than lines, names will be deleted from the "end" (i.e. the ballot is still valid).

Pre-filled ballots can be left alone or modified as follows:

  • You can strike people you don't want to vote for, making the line empty (still counts as party vote).
  • You can double a candidate by writing his/her name a second time. A candidate cannot appear more than twice, however (no "tripling", "quadrupling", ... "quattuor-et-trigintupling").
  • You can import candidates from other lists onto your list, thus giving the vote away to the candidate and his/her party. This is called cross-voting (or in french panacher). Doubling an imported candidate is, of course, possible, too.

Note that you need not strike names on the list if you double or "panache" candidates (but it's a good habit nonetheless). When the ballot is counted, the added names will push the printed ones "off the list".

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, April 10, 2006

Left-green demolishes the right in Berne elections

Historic victory for Social Democrats and Greens: They won the majority in the Berne state government elections and now hold four seats. Bernhard Pulver of the Green Free List managed to win the first seat for the Greens for 20 years, and win he did, ranking fourth (see below). The biggest (and well deserved) loser was the Swiss People's Party (SVP) who not only failed to win their 4th seat as they boldly set out to do, but actually also lost their 3rd seat. The same fate was shared by the Free Democrats (FDP) who also lost a seat. The strategy of the once grand party that built modern Switzerland to suck up to the People's Party was a total unmitigated failure, and they have to pay dearly for their blunder, becoming more and more irrelevant.

The right also lost the majority in the Great Council (parliament). Winners are again the Greens who increased their share of votes in the city of Berne from 8.5% to 17.5%. In the 160 seat parliament, the Greens now hold 19 seats (9.2%, +3.7 points), and form the 4th largest faction in the parliament after SVP (47), SP (42), and FDP (26).

New Berne State Council

  1. Egger-Jenzer Barbara (SP) 97444
  2. Gasche Urs (SVP) 94917
  3. Luginbühl Werner (SVP) 91568
  4. Pulver Bernhard (GFL) 85299
  5. Rickenbacher Andreas (SP) 84745
  6. Käser Hans-Jürg (FDP) 80793
  7. Perrenoud Philippe (SP) 79251

For full results visit the election site of the Canton of Berne.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, November 14, 2005

Geneva Greens pocket second seat in State Council elections

The Green Party of Geneva won a second seat in last Sunday's State Council elections, resulting in a red-green majority (the State Council is the government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva). The incumbent Robert Cramer (Green) called the result "fantastic" and said that it confirmed the good result of the recent Great Council elections, where the Greens won 5 additional seats to become the third biggest party in Geneva's parliament (the right had won a majority). Both Robert Cramer and the newly elected David Hiller are considered pragmatic non-polemic personalities.

New Geneva State Council

  1. Pierre-Francois Unger (CVP) 54080
  2. Robert Cramer (Green) 53710
  3. David Hiler (Green) 53267
  4. Francois Longchamp (FDP) 51940
  5. Charles Beer (SP) 49873
  6. Mark Muller (Lib) 45049
  7. Laurent Moutinot (SP) 43941