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Swiss parliamentary elections: not middle

Driven by reason, always the good compromise, the win-win solution
      in mind. Seriously, who could not vote for parties that promise? In
      the supposedly thoroughly pragmatic Switzerland are the surprisingly few voters.
      Good 20 percent.

On 20 October, the Swiss will elect a new national parliament. These days, the parties launch their election campaigns. They drink a café crème with the common people in publicity or launch media-celebrity celebrity candidatures, and their presidents explain how they want to change the country in the next four years.

Now, perhaps, change a little big word for a choice in which – as always in Switzerland – the balance of power will only minimal change and in which profits and losses often show only behind the decimal point.

But this autumn could continue a trend that fundamentally changes the political system of the country in the medium term: It threatens the loss of the middle.

The very influence of the parties, who say of themselves that they are the "voice of reason" and the "constructive force" in the country, for which their success rates speak in parliamentary and referendums. Parties that are acknowledged by dissenters as "lubricants" because they keep the political machinery running at its compromise.

CVP, Green Liberals, BDP and EVP know the trend and resist it. They want to enter into nationwide lists, so that no middle vote is lost. In 2015, they brought together 22 percent of the vote, in October it should be significantly more. Your goal is no less than a "progressive turnaround" in Bern,

The parties are supported by Operation Libero. After several voting successes in the fight against SVP initiatives, the hip-liberal Grass Roots movement now joins a campaign for the first time. It wants to support non-partisan progress-ready candidates with their campaigning power and thus break the "conservative coalition that has brought politics to a standstill".

Switzerland should do more Europe dare to introduce marriage for all, pursue a more ambitious climate and a liberal migration policy. It should cooperate more internationally and step forward courageously.

Indeed, initial surveys show that the national conservative SVP should lose slightly in the upcoming elections. A feeling that she already knows from the cantonal and municipal elections of the past years. However, in 2015, SVP was the big winner, and this year's weak-minded people are benefiting, on the one hand, the freethinkers, who in turn have moved to the right. And on the other hand, the Greens, a left-wing polar party.

So how is it that the centrist forces are so difficult in the Swiss consensus democracy?

As in autumn 2011, almost eight years ago, the two political scientists Michael Hermann and Claude Longchamp the federal elections for the
        TIME
        analyzed
, everything sounded very different. At that time there was talk of an era change. The new middle parties have just won the electorate, and Longchamp said, "The era of polarization is over."

Looking back, the 2011 elections were not a turning point, but a historical anomaly. The seductive power of the new, the green-colored liberals and decent bourgeois, had vanished quickly. To each milieu its own party, this idea did not catch.

At that time, parties such as the BDP or the Green Liberals were to create a new power factor in Bern. A force independent of the financially strong trade associations or the referendum-capable trade unions, which, as policy observer Hermann said at the time, was not subject to such "strong prohibitions".

In fact, in the ensuing legislature, the middle parties in changing alliances changed the country properly; Always for Swiss standards, of course. For example, public transport was put on a new financing basis and the energy transition was pushed. Both billion-dollar projects that will shape the country for decades.

But the most profound changes at that time were the result of outside pressure: international organizations such as the G20 or the OECD and major political powers such as the EU or US forced Switzerland to reform its financial center. It was no less than a moment of economic history when, in the autumn of 2015, shortly before the elections, the National Council decided to automatically exchange information. The Swiss banking secrecy was finally dead.

No wonder, middle and left politicians speak to this day of one of the most successful legislatures.

But the price was high. It was also those four years when unusually many popular initiatives were adopted. The desires are important for the political culture and the system of Switzerland, most are rejected because their concerns too one-sided, their solution is too radical.

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