The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has lost several seats in the latest round of Senate run-off elections, with two of its heavyweights failing to win over voters.
Voters went to the polls in five cantons on Sunday to decide all but one of the remaining seats in the Senate.
In a surprise outcome, People’s Party chairman and head of the St Gallen chapter Toni Brunner failed to take the St Gallen seat, won by Social Democrat Paul Rechsteiner. Karin Keller-Sutter of the Radicals was elected for the canton in the first round of voting in October.
People’s Party strongman Christoph Blocher also failed in his bid for a Zurich seat. Radical Felix Gutzwiller and Verena Diener of the Green Liberals won the canton’s two seats.
In Aargau, two women were elected to represent the canton in the Senate for the first time: Christine Egerszegi of the Radical Party and Social Democrat Pascale Bruderer. Meanwhile People’s Party representative Ulrich Giezendanner lost his seat of 16 years.
In Uri, the Green Liberal Markus Stadler saw off a challenge by People’s Party candidate Gusti Planzer. Christian Democrat Isidor Baumann had been elected in the first round of voting.
However the People’s Party took both seats in canton Schwyz. Bruno Frick of the Christian Democrats was not re-elected to the Senate for the first time in 20 years, with the seat going to Peter Föhn. Alex Kuprecht was elected in the first round.
The Christian Democrats are now the biggest party in the Senate. A final vote for canton Solothurn takes place next Sunday.