Swiss admit election count errors | Inquirer News

Swiss admit election count errors

/ 07:18 AM October 26, 2023

FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag is displayed on the Swiss Federal Criminal Court building in Bellinzona

FILE PHOTO: Switzerland’s national flag is displayed on the Swiss Federal Criminal Court (Bundesstrafgericht) building in Bellinzona, Switzerland, December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Emma Farge/File Photo

Geneva, Switzerland — Switzerland admitted Wednesday it had made errors when counting the votes in its general election at the weekend, with President Alain Berset ordering an immediate investigation into what went wrong.

System errors affected the centrally-recorded numbers of votes from three of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, but the blunder did not affect the distribution of seats. the Federal Statistical Office said.


The main effect is that the right-wing FDP party, called FDP.The Liberals, remained the third-biggest party in terms of vote share — and was not overtaken by the centre-right party The Centre.


The blunder could have had implications for the distribution of seats in the power-sharing government, had The Centre pushed for greater representation on the back of a third-placed finish.

Switzerland voted Sunday for all 200 seats in the National Council lower house of parliament and all 46 in the Council of States upper chamber.

The hard right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) comfortably topped the National Council election, with the left-wing Social Democrats second.

National Council elections are decided by proportional representation in each canton. The number of lawmakers depends on the canton’s population.

“The Federal Statistical Office (FSO) carried out quality checks on its electoral statistics and noted an error in the calculation of party strengths aggregated at the national level,” a government statement said.

The error was due to “incorrect programming of the data import software” for the two Appenzell cantons and for Glarus, which provide their data in a different format from the rest of the country.


The tiny cantons only return one lawmaker each to the National Council.

The votes cast in those cantons were centrally counted three to five times, resulting in the SVP, The Centre and FDP.The Liberals having too high a vote share in the national count.

“The FSO deeply regrets this error and takes this incident very seriously,” it said.

Democracy harmed: Centre

The corrected numbers mean the SVP’s vote share was 27.9 percent rather than 28.6 percent.

The Social Democrats got 18.3 percent rather than 18.0 percent.

FDP.The Liberals got 14.3 percent and not 14.4 percent.

The Centre got 14.1 percent, rather than 14.6 percent, ultimately putting them fourth.

The Greens got 9.8 percent instead of 9.4 percent, while the Green Liberals got 7.6 percent instead of 7.2 percent.

The newly-elected parliamentarians will choose the seven members of the government on December 13.

The seats are shared out 2-2-2-1 among the four main parties under the so-called “magic formula” tacit agreement.

The Centre called for an external investigation, saying the damaging error “harms an important institution of our democracy”. The party was nonetheless was pleased with its election result.

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FDP.The Liberals’ vice-president Andrea Caroni said the blunder was “regrettable” and “worrying”, but the party was “happy” to have retained third place.


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TAGS: Switzerland, world news

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