Switzerland Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Switzerland. With the parliamentary elections in October, Switzerland took a clear step to the right and the composition of the Standing Collective Government changed for the first time in 44 years. According to Countryaah.com, Switzerland Independence Day is August 1. The major winner of the election became the right-wing populist SVP (Schweizerische Volkspartei), which with its xenophobic and EU-skeptical message received support from 27% of voters. This meant that SVP’s voter support doubled in two elections and it became the country’s largest party. With 55 of the 200 seats in the National Council, the SVP now demanded two of the seven ministerial posts in the government. In December, it was clear that so would be the case. The Christian Democrats, who, after a sharp fall, received only 28 seats, were forced to renounce one of their ministerial posts. The Social Democrats, who got 52 seats, and the Liberal Democratic FDP (Freisinnig Demokratische Partei), which got 36, retained two ministerial posts each.

New SVP minister became industrialist and billionaire Christoph Blocher, the party’s best known name. He has profiled himself as a strong opponent of immigration and refugee reception. Blocher also bluntly says no to a Swiss EU membership.

After prolonged pressure, the government signed an agreement with the EU during the year to tax savings accounts belonging to people living in EU countries. The tax must be transferred to the account holder’s home country.

In June, violence erupted mainly in Geneva and Lausanne in connection with a summit held by the eight largest industrial countries in the G-8 in French Evian-les-Bains at the border with Switzerland. Nearly 100,000 people gathered on the Swiss side for major demonstrations against globalization. They were mostly peaceful, but in some places cars and shops were vandalized. The police arrested over 400 people and arrested 33.

According to statistics in 1981, the number of male students was about three times greater than the number of female students, and women accounted for almost 32.5% of the economically active part of the population.

Women first obtained federal voting rights in 1971, while in some cantons, even in 1999, they cannot participate in the elections. In 1984, for the first time, the National Assembly elected a woman, Dr. Elisabeth Kopp, Minister of Police and Justice.

Since 1986, environmental problems have grown sharply and the government has taken precautions against pollution in an effort to limit the “acid rain” and pollution of the Rhine. In 1987, France, Germany and the Netherlands received compensation for the damage suffered by these countries in connection with an accident at a Swiss chemical plant.

Another serious problem is the damage done to the Alps ecosystem. The rapid growth of cities and the transport of heavy trucks on the roads are increasingly creating desert areas in the region. As a consequence, the number of so-called “natural disasters” such as floods and rock avalanches, landslides and avalanches, which could be avoided if protected and maintained by the stock of healthy trees, is increased.

Shortly after the Soviet nuclear power plant accident in Chernobyl in 1986, concerns about the nuclear power issue increased. Following a series of protest actions, in 1989 Parliament abandoned the construction of a sixth nuclear reactor in the country.

In June 1991, the women carried out a strike in the metal and watch industries. That same year, the canton of Appenzell-Rodas decided to give women the right to vote.

The growing poverty faced by the general wealth and immigration pressure has stimulated the extreme right wing. The small parties of the Swiss Democratic Party and the Motorist Party – which have xenophobic tendencies and oppose public social policy measures – have grown steadily since 1989.

Switzerland Border Map