Why the magic formula was never broken and the SVP should get two seats

22. November 2015 | categories: Datajournalism, Politics

Today, Ruedi Noser and Philipp Müller were elected as the last two council of states members. This completes the Federal Parliament. In Switzerland, the parliament consists of two equivalent chambers. A member of the Council of States thus has a greater influence than one in the National Council, since the Council of States is made up of 46 members, but the National Council is made up of 200 members, which means that a Council of States has about as much power as 4.35 National Council members.

The Federal Council elections will take place on 9 December. In contrast to many other countries, where the strongest party is the government, all major parties in Switzerland are involved in the Bundesrat. This is intended to improve the operation of the Council and prevent referendums. Since 1959, the magic formula has been applied, which grants the three strongest parties two seats each and the fourth strongest party a seat in the Bundesrat.

In order to locate the strongest parties, the seat shares must be considered in the National Council and Council of States. The SVP is by far the strongest party in the National Council. She was able to win 12 seats. The SP comes second, followed by the FDP and CVP.

In the Council of States, however, things are somewhat different. CVP and FDP are the strongest parties with 13 seats each, closely followed by the SP with 12 seats. The SVP, on the other hand, has only five seats in this chamber.

It is now interesting to look at the diameter of the seats of both chambers. Then the SP is the strongest party with 23.8 percent. The FDP came in second with 22.4 percent, which, thanks to the two newly won (secured) seats in Zurich and Aargau, was still able to pass the SVP today. The SVP comes third with 21.7 percent. The CVP ranks fourth with 20.9 percent. The Greens came fifth with 3.8 percent, followed by the BDP with 2.8 percent and GLP with 1.8 percent. This means that the SP, FDP and SVP each have two seats too good and the CVP one.

It will be even more interesting to take a closer look at the 2011 constellation. The SP continued to be the strongest party. It averaged 23.5 percent. CVP followed in two places with 21.1 percent. The FDP ranked third with 19.5 percent. The SVP, on the other hand, only reached 18.9 percent and was in fourth place. Thus, SP, CVP and FDP had two seats each too good, while the SVP had only one seat. If one counts Evelyn Widmer-Schlumpf (BDP) to the CVP (the parties considered a joint faction), the magic formula was not injured for the last four years, but corresponded to the constellation of parliament.