Parliamentary Chamber: Nationalrat - Conseil national - Consiglio nazionale


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  Nationalrat - Conseil national - Consiglio nazionale

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  24 October 1999

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Council on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Altogether some 2850 candidates and 271 lists contested the 200 National Council and 46 Council of States seats. Approximately 35% of those in the running were women, while more than 50 outgoing MPs did not stand for re-election.

Campaign debate chiefly concerned taxes, employment, health and family policies, social security and, vis--vis the outside world, Switzerland's relationship to the European Union (EU) and asylum for refugees. As before, four main parties - the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), the Radical Democratic Party (FDP/PRD), the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) and the Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) - were in contention. They together shared the seven-seat Cabinet (Federal Council) according to a "magic formula" that, since 1959, had allotted two seats to each but the SVP/UDC.

Pre-election surveys predicted a strong advance by the last-mentioned group, led by Mr. Ueli Maurer and whose best-known politician was Mr. Christoph Blocher. As opposed to his rivals, he ran on an anti-immigration, anti-EU platform and also called for tax cuts. His three challengers countered by pointing to the recovery of the Swiss economy, marked by low unemployment and inflation rates. On polling day, the SP/PS, led by Mrs Ursula Koch, maintained its leading position in the National Council despite losing three seats. The populist, nationalist SVP/UDC confirmed its favorable ratings by picking up 15 additional seats to edge the conservative FDP/PRD, headed by Mr. Franz Steinegger, and the centrist CVP/PDC, led by Mr. Adalbert Durrer. In the Council of States elections, held in two rounds in some cantons where runoffs were required, FDP/PRD won 18 seats, the CVP/PDC 15, the SVP/UDC 7 and the SP/PS 6. The newly elected Parliament held its first sitting on 6 December 1999.

Round no 1 (24 October 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 4 626 215
Voters 2 004 540 (43 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 34 125
Valid votes 1 970 415

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Socialist Party (SP/PS) 438 556 22.48
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) 438 845 22.50
Radical-Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) 388 737 19.93
Christian-Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) 307 730 15.78
Green Party (GPS/PES) 97 935 5.02
Liberal Party (LPS/PLS) 43 871 2.25
Evangelical People's Party (EVP/PEP) 35 417 1.82
Labour Party (PdA/PST) 18 568 0.95
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Socialist Party (SP/PS) 51 -3
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) 44 +15
Radical-Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) 43 -2
Christian-Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) 35 +1
Green Party (GPS/PES) 9 =
Liberal Party (LPS/PLS) 6 -1
Evangelical People's Party (EVP/PEP) 3 +1
Labour Party (PdA/PST) 2 -1
Others 7 n.a.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 155
Women: 45
Percent of women: 22.50

Distribution of seats according to age:  
21 to 30 years 2
31 to 40 years 12
41 to 50 years 78
51 to 60 years 94
61 to 70 years 14

Distribution of seats according to profession:

Legal professions 40
Farmers 23
Self-employed 22
Teachers 20
Business/Trade/Industry 18
Medical professions 11
Economists 8
Association officials 7
Civil servants 7
Engineers 7
Journalists/writers/publishers 5
Politicians 3
Others 27

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Copyright 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union