Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Swiss People's Party
The Swiss People's Party (SVP) also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre German: Schweizerische Volkspartei, French: Union Démocratique du Centre, Italian: Unione Democratica del Centro, Romansh: Uniun Democratica dal Center) is a political party in Switzerland. The SVP is strongest in German-speaking areas of Switzerland and after the 2003 general election is the largest party in the Swiss lower house of parliament with 55 out of 200 seats. Its president is Ueli Maurer . It is a member of the governing coalition and has two members on the Swiss Federal Council, current President of the Confederation Samuel Schmid and Christoph Blocher.
It traces its roots to 1917, with the formation of a Farmers Party in Zurich. Similar parties followed in other cantons. These parties formed a loose federation that by 1929 was strong enough to get one of its leaders, Rudolf Minger, elected to the Federal Council. It has had a seat on the Federal Council since then. The party formally organised in 1936 as the Party of Farmers, Traders and Independents (German: Bauern-, Gewerbe- und Bürgerpartei [BGB]; French: Parti des Paysans, Artisans et Indépendants [PAI]). In 1971, it merged with the Democratic Parties of Glarus and Grisons to become the SVP.
The SVP is the right-most of the four co-governing political parties in Switzerland. It is best known for opposing Swiss membership in international organisations such as the EU and UN, and for its campaigning against perceived flaws in the immigration, asylum and penal laws. The party is socially and fiscally conservative (although secular in outlook). It is in favour of traditional family values, tough penal laws, strict immigration limits, deregulation and reduced government spending (except for the areas of domestic security, the military and agricultural support). The SVP supports the Swiss traditions of private gun ownership, armed neutrality and the national militia army and opposes most forms of international security cooperation.
The party is often considered divided into a centrist-agrarian wing and an activist-nationalist wing. The latter, based in Zurich, is clearly predominant on the national level and, under the leadership of the popular Blocher functioned as a de facto opposition party from circa 1980 to 2003. The former, to which Schmid belongs, hails from Berne. It stresses the party's responsibilities as a member of the governing coalition and is more oriented towards seeking a consensus with the other parties.
At the expense of the major parties of the centre, the SVP has greatly increased its voter support in the last decades and presently holds roughly 25% of the national vote. In the 2003 elections, its ascendancy to the strongest party in Parliament led it to demand an additional seat on the Federal Council at the expense of the Christian Democrats (now the weakest of the parties in the governing coalition) and threatened to go into opposition if it didn't get it. Finally, Blocher was elected to the council, replacing Ruth Metzler-Arnold.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details