02:24 GMT09 May 2021
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    The growing fear of foreigners shaped the results of the Sunday elections in Switzerland in which the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP) emerged as a big winner gaining the support of 29.4 percent of the votes.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — The SVP managed to increase its representation in the local 200-seat National Council by winning an additional 11 seats thus securing a record 65 seats in the parliament.

    The Social Democratic Party (SP) finished second with 18.8 percent of votes. The main rival of the SVP lost two seats, securing 44 representatives in the parliament.

    The center-right Free Democratic Party (FDP) gained 3 seats securing a total of 33 lawmakers in the parliament after garnering 16.4 percent of the vote.

    SVP GAINS ON MIGRATION FEARS

    Georg Lutz, professor of political science at the University of Lausanne, told Sputnik that the SVP gains are attributed to “the rising figures in asylum [claims] in the last month and asylum policies in the whole Europe.”

    “This strengthened the fear that we have too much immigration and our system politically and culturally could collapse because of too much immigration,” Lutz said Monday.

    Berne University politics professor Klaus Armingeon explained to Sputnik that amid the current refugee crisis the SVP won more votes as people thought that closing Switzerland to foreigners, “who take advantage of Swiss social security schemes,” would ensure their personal security and save taxpayer money.

    WHAT WILL CHANGE?

    The experts note that after the elections not much will change.

    “The SVP got additional 2.9% of votes— that is no landslide electoral victory that shifts the power relations inside the country and the strategies of external policy. There are still 70% of the electorate that supported other parties,” Armingeon explained.

    Before the parliament elects a new seven-seat government on December 9, the country has a lot of important issues to decide upon in the next twelve months.

    Lutz said that most urgently Switzerland has to follow up on the 2014 referendum in which 50.4 percent of the Swiss population voted to introduce quotas on migrants entering from the European Union.

    “Now we have this situation with this initiative against mass immigration that has to be put in a law, but it is the government that will suggest a solution and I think it is rather a sign of the Swiss population that they want EU immigration more controlled,” Lutz said.

    Swiss vote on introducing quotas for EU migrants to Switzerland sparked criticism in the European Union, and hurt the relations between Bern and Brussels, so that many Swiss parties campaigned on the issue. Green Party member Luc Recordon told Sputnik prior the elections that Switzerland needs to cancel the decision “to find a very smooth solution that the EU can accept.”

    Armingeon stressed that even though the SVP will insist on enforcing quotas for EU migrants to Switzerland, “it cannot be implemented without provoking major damage for Swiss interests.”

    Doris Fiala, from the FDP party told Sputnik before the elections that Switzerland has been politically split on whether to maintain bilateral deals with the European Union or restrict immigration by EU citizens into the country. Moreover, she pointed out that Switzerland might have to hold another referendum on the immigration issue.

    "We are almost victims of our own success, and nobody could imagine that we would have 80,000 people per year entering Switzerland," she said, stressing that Switzerland is a small country and net immigration of some 80,000 a year means a new town needs to be built every year to accommodate them.

    Related:

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    Switzerland Votes in Parliamentary Elections Sunday Amid EU Migrant Crisis
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