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Pandemic woes push more Swiss youth into politics

Published on November 22, 2021
Written by swissinfo.ch
Published from Swissinfo.ch

Switzerland’s political parties have seen the ranks of their youth sections grow during the coronavirus pandemic, Swiss public broadcaster RTS reported on Monday.

Young people have been particularly affected by the government’s restrictions to control the pandemic. This helps explain their increased appetite for politics.

Since 2020, the youth section of the Social Democratic Party gained 1,889 new members, or twice as much relative to previous years. The Young Liberals of Switzerland gained 1,425 new members, the Young Greens 1,237 members and the Young Swiss People’s Party 1,000.

A way to shape the future

For the Greens, the climate movement had already led to an increase in membership and the trend was further strengthened by the pandemic.

“I have the feeling that with the pandemic, many people have been able to see how much political decisions impact our daily lives,” explains Julia Küng, co-president of the Young Greens. “This encourages some young people to get involved in shaping the future they want”.

The pandemic gave the youth wing of the Swiss People’s Party an opportunity to take a critical look at government policy. 

“From the outset, the Young Swiss People’s Party have spoken out against the health restrictions, against the imposition of restrictions on society and the policy of endless restrictions, and this has been echoed by the young people who have joined us in droves,” says David Trachsel, president of the Young Swiss People’s Party.

Political commitment starts earlier

Driven by climate concerns and pandemic woes, the trend was recently confirmed in a study conducted by the GFS Institute in Bern. It found that the majority of 15- to 25-year-olds said they felt politically committed for the first time in 2020.

“What certainly played a role were the climate strikes,” says Martina Mousson, project manager at the GFS Institute Bern. “And then came this sudden break of the pandemic and the political measures that had an impact on young people.”