- Title: Looming climate risks boost Greens in Swiss election
- Date: 18th October 2019
- Summary: SIGN ON GREEN CAMPAIGN POSTER READING (German): "OUR CLIMATE, YOUR CHOICE" BERN, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) CANDIDATE FOR THE YOUNG GREENS PARTY, VERA BECKER, TALKING TO JOURNALIST BADGE READING (German) "NATIONAL CLIMATE DEMONSTRATION FOR A CHANGE 29.9.19 BERN" / BECKER'S FACE (SOUNDBITE) (English) CANDIDATE FOR THE YOUNG GREENS PARTY, VERA BECKER, SAYING: "This whole movement started with the young people and it's being continued by the young people, at least in Switzerland it is always the young people pushing the climate strike and everything. But, obviously, we have to work together, even the next generation of parliamentarians will not only be young people of course. So we have to work together but young people have to make themselves heard, the parliament needs to be representative of people of all colours, all genders, all whatnots and all ages as well. So, yes, I feel like the young people will help a lot to bring this change and to make things happen." LENK IM SIMMENTAL, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) FAR-RIGHT SWISS PEOPLE'S PARTY CAMPAIGN SIGN ON SIDE OF ROAD AMMERDENHORN MOUNTAIN PEAK / SIMME RIVER
- Embargoed: 1st November 2019 07:29
- Keywords: GLP Green Liberals SVP voters environment polls Swiss People's Party climate change parliamentary election Socialists Green Party SP Switzerland
- Location: BERN, LAUSANNE, LENK IM SIMMENTAL & PLEINE MORTE GLACIER, SWITZERLAND
- City: BERN, LAUSANNE, LENK IM SIMMENTAL & PLEINE MORTE GLACIER, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003B1MISSN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The concerns and consequences of climate change could lead to gains for the environmentalist Greens of Switzerland polls showed ahead of a parliamentary election on Sunday (October 20), vaulting them into the mix for a seat in the grand coalition that has governed the conservative nation for decades.
A September Tamedia poll showed the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), which won record seats in 2015 amid Europe's refugee crisis, will dip 1.5 points while the Green Party's share will rise more than 3 points to 10.2% of the vote.
The smaller, more centrist Green Liberal Party (GLP) is also expected to advance, bringing their combined strength to a theoretical 17.4%.
That would place them collectively third behind the SVP and the centre-left Socialists (SP), ahead of the centre-right Liberals (FDP), who have two of seven seats on the Federal Council.
"There is a deep and durable change in people's concerns and a new general awareness of the climate emergency," said Pascal Sciarini, a political scientist at the University of Geneva.
Tens of thousands, mostly students, have marched to demand climate action even though big protests are rare. Switzerland's direct democracy system makes referenda the normal channel for venting opposition to the status quo.
Yet, it is unclear whether action in the street can convert into votes. Swiss Election Study data show that fewer than a third of 18-24 year olds took part in 2015. National turnout was only 49 percent.
Even if the Greens do not get a seat, they could help push through legislation such as a carbon law rejected by parliament last year that is again under consideration.
But analysts caution against expecting too radical a shift. Green parties do not have a monopoly on ecological issues and many voters in the rural SVP heartland are loyal, like in the village of Lenk where voters show little sign of changing their minds.
Perched nearly 2,000 meters above the Swiss ski village of Lenk, a lake has emerged as the Plaine Morte glacier melts. When it burst it sent billions of litres of water gushing into the valley below and prompted a precautionary evacuation last July.
"We've heard in polls that the 'Green wave' is coming'. I think, clearly, the people of Lenk, in general those in the mountains, won't be so influenced by this," Lenk mayor Rene Mueller said.
The Greens' success could hit all major parties, including the SVP, whose President Albert Rosti has called climate change a "eco-socialist scam against the middle class".
(Production: Cecile Mantovani, Marina Depetris and Denis Balibouse)
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