The Green Party of Switzerland is on course for its best result ever in an upcoming parliamentary election, capitalizing on fears about global warming that are mobilizing people across Europe.
The gains expected to be recorded by environmentalists are a knock-on effect of Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future climate protests, which resulted in demonstrations across Switzerland and last month helped the Austrian Green Party get voted back into parliament after a two-year hiatus.
Across Europe “we’re having a very intensive debate about climate change,” said Georg Lutz, professor of political science at the University of Lausanne.
“There are topics that are important to people and there are parties that are identified with them. Those parties get a fillip when the campaign zeros in on their issue,” Lutz said.
While the Swiss Green Party is likely to be the biggest gainer in percentage terms, the Swiss People’s Party is virtually sure to extend its tenure as the most popular party in the ballot tomorrow.
Because plebiscites, held several times a year, give voters a say on everything from corporate tax to immigration, the outcome of the parliamentary election is much less of a determinant for policy. No party wins in a US or British sense, and there is no coalition-building like in Germany.
Instead, Switzerland’s presidency is rotated annually among members of its seven-person executive. The newly formed parliament is to elect the body in several weeks’ time, typically in December, with membership determined based on proportionality, as well as strategic backroom deals.
The election is taking place against the backdrop of a slowdown in Swiss economic growth.
Relations with the EU, the country’s top destination for exports, are tense at times. Earlier this year, a disagreement between the two over a political treaty led to the Swiss disallowing the trading of shares in their companies within the bloc.
Yet survey data show that neither economic concerns nor immigration, which dominated the 2015 election, are at the forefront of voters’ minds today.
It is the environment, which climbed to the top of the agenda on the back of student protests, according to a report by pollster Sotomo for broadcaster SRG.
A study this week found that Switzerland’s glaciers lost more than 10 percent of their volume over the past five years, the fastest pace of decline in more than a century.
“In the course of the year the topic gained traction with other age groups,” as well, and in recent weeks “again gained in importance,” Sotomo said.
Twice a day Hong Kong’s virtually deserted airport fills with the sound of tearful goodbyes as residents fearful for their future under China’s increasingly authoritarian rule start a new life overseas, mostly in Britain. London flights tend to leave in the afternoon and late evening, and for a few hours it briefly feels like the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists as the airport comes to life. Check-in desks fill up with crowds of passengers wheeling as much luggage as their tickets will permit. Accompanied by the loved ones they leave behind, the scenes are emotionally charged and shadowed by a palpable pall of
A man has confessed to defrauding Chinese-Canadian pop singer Kris Wu (吳亦凡) over a teenager’s accusation that he had sex with her when she was drunk, Beijing police said on Thursday. The announcement added a bizarre twist to a scandal that cost Wu endorsement contracts with brands including Porsche and Bulgari. The former member of South Korean boy band EXO has denied the accusation, which drew an outpouring of online support for the woman and criticism of Wu. On Friday, Louis Vuitton became the latest brand to end its contract with Wu. A man who saw rumors about the incident online contacted the woman
Ethiopia’s Afar region on Friday called on civilians to take up arms against rebels from neighboring Tigray, signaling a potential escalation in fighting that has already displaced tens of thousands this week. “Every Afar should protect their land with any means available, whether by guns, sticks or stones,” regional President Awol Arba said in an interview aired by regional state media. “No weapons can make us kneel down. We will win this war with our strong determination.” Tigrayan rebels launched operations in Afar last weekend, saying they were targeting pro-government troops massing along the two regions’ shared border. A government official said on
Buried in a long US indictment accusing China of a global cyberespionage campaign was a curious detail: Among the governments targeted by Chinese hackers was Cambodia, one of Beijing’s most loyal Asian allies. The target of the hack, which two sources with knowledge of the indictment said was the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was also revealing: discussions between China and Cambodia over the use of the Mekong River, a new battleground for US and Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. Four Chinese — three security officials and a contract hacker — have been charged for attacks aimed at dozens