Swiss federal elections are expected to reflect climate change worries as the key issue

Switzerland holds elections today for all seats in parliament. In December, both houses will sit as one assembly to elect

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Switzerland holds elections today for all seats in parliament.

In December, both houses will sit as one assembly to elect the seven members of the multi-party government (the Federal Council), which acts as the collective Presidency. An annually-chosen rotating president is also elected from the Federal Council to represent Switzerland for official state occasions.

After a glacier melt threatened towns and villages in July, polling suggests climate change has become the major issue of this election—27% of voters rank it as their foremost concern. Therefore, the two main Green parties are expected to make major gains from their current combined total of 19-seats in both houses to possibly more than 30 seats. The populist, anti-immigration Swiss Peoples’ Party is still expected to remain largest party but lose some of its combined 70-seats in both houses.

Given the complicated formula for apportioning assembly seats and the lack of policy consensus between the two Green parties, it remains an uphill task for the Greens to win a seat in the seven-member government. However, a stronger Green bloc in parliament could push through a new carbon law—rejected by parliament last year—and advance environmental issues to the forefront of Swiss politics.