Polling under way in Switzerland

23rd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Polling stations opened across Switzerland Sunday for voters to elect a new parliament, with fears over immigration and the eurozone's public debt crisis set to sway voters towards the far-right.

While analysts do not expect any major surprises, they say a key issue will be whether the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) manages to improve its 2007 score of 28.8 percent.

The SVP appears to have struck a chord with the population through its aggressive campaign claiming that the "mass immigration" of foreigners is taking away Swiss jobs.

"An important issue at stake is whether the SVP will manage to maintain its 2007 score or improve it," said Pascal Sciarini, a political analyst.

"It's a very important point because it would mark the first time that a party has surpassed the 30 percent mark in Switzerland, which has not been the case since 1919," he added.

Ballot boxes will be sealed at noon, and taken to counting centres, with the first results as early as an hour later.

The small half canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden is expected to announce its results at 1pm local time (1100 GMT) followed by other smaller cantons. Results from the larger cantons including Zurich, Vaud and Bern are expected to come in the late afternoon or evening.

Voters had already received their ballot slips over two weeks ago, and with school holidays underway in many cantons, most have already cast their votes by post.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article