Politics Comes to Switzerland

Sometimes I hear people, usually apolitical libertarians, point to Switzerland as a model of a decentralized and de-politicized government. There’s some truth to this, but mostly Switzerland is an anomalous country (Hitler didn’t think it important to conquer), or, as I sometimes describe it, Switzerland is essentially a giant bank with a few well-run public services.

That may be changing. From the Telegraph today:

Anti-immigration party wins Swiss election in ‘slide to the Right’

The anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) won the biggest share of the vote in Sunday’s national parliamentary election, keeping pressure on Bern to introduce quotas on people moving from the European Union.

Success for the SVP, coupled with gains made by the pro-business Liberal Party (FDP), led political commentators to talk of a “Rechtsrutsch” – a “slide to the right” – in Swiss politics.

Immigration was the central topic for voters amid a rush of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.

“The vote was clear,” SVP leader Toni Brunner told Swiss television. “The people are worried about mass migration to Europe.”

Sunday’s result cemented the SVP’s position as the dominant force in Swiss politics.