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Free Democratic Party of Switzerland
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Free Democratic Party of Switzerland

The Free Democratic Party (, , , ) was a classical liberal political party in Switzerland. It was one of the major parties in Switzerland until its merger with the smaller classical liberal Liberal Party, to form FDP.The Liberals on 1 January 2009.

The FDP was formed in 1894 from the Radicals, who had dominated Swiss politics since the 1830s, standing in in opposition to the Catholic conservatives, and who from the creation of the federal state in 1848 until 1891 formed the federal government.

The FDP remained dominant until the introduction of proportional representation in 1919. From 1945 to 1987, it alternated with the Social Democratic Party to be the largest party. In 1959, the party took two seats in the magic formula. The party declined in the 1990s and 2000s (decade), as it was put under pressure by the Swiss People's Party. In response, the party formed closer relations with the smaller Liberal Party, leading to their formal merger in 2009.



The elements liberal, radical and 'free-thinking' () in the party's name originate from the conflicts during the period of Restoration (Switzerland) between the Catholic-conservative cantons and the liberal cantons. This conflict led to the foundation of the Swiss federal state in 1848 after the victory of the Protestant-liberal cantons in the Sonderbund war.

From 1848 until 1891, the Federal Council was composed entirely of Radicals. The radical movement of the restoration was radical, and stood in opposition to the conservative Catholic Conservative Party. They were otherwise heterogeneous, including and classical liberal 'Liberals', federalist 'Radicals', and social liberal 'Democrats': placing the radical movement on the 'left' of the political spectrum. It was not until the rise of the Social Democratic Party in the early 20th century that the FDP found itself on the centre-right.

The FDP was the dominant party until the 1919 election, when the introduction of proportional representation led to a leap in the representation of the Social Democrats. In 1959, the Free Democrats joined the other major parties in agreeing the 'magic formula' to divide up the seats of the Federal Council, with the FDP permanently receiving two of the seven seats.

After the federal election 2003 FDP and Liberal Party formed a common faction in the Federal Assembly. In June 2005, they strengthened their cooperation by founding Radical and Liberal Union[1] They merged on 1 January 2009 to form FDP.The Liberals.

Popular support

In 2003, it held 36 mandates (out of 200) in the Swiss National Council (first chamber of the Swiss parliament); 14 (out of 46) in the second chamber and 2 out of 7 mandates in the Swiss Federal Council (executive body). By 2005, it held 27,2% of the seats in the Swiss Cantonal governments and 19,7% in the Swiss Cantonal parliaments (index "BADAC", weighted with the population and number of seats). At the last legislative elections, 22 October 2007, the party won 15.6 % of the popular vote and 31 out of 200 seats.[2]

List of party Presidents

Name Canton Years
1st Basel-Stadt 1894 1896
2nd Basel-Stadt 1896 1897
3rd Zurich 1897 1898
4th Bern 1898 1903
5th Basel-Stadt 1904 1906
6th Zurich 1907 1910
7th Vaud 1911 1912
8th Vaud 1912 1913
9th Bern 1914 1918
10th Solothurn 1919 1923
11th Zurich 1923 1929
12th Bern 1929 1934
13th Neuch tel 1934 1940
14th Luzern 1940 1948
15th Ticino 1948 1954
16th Basel-Stadt 1954 1960
17th Ticino 1960 1964
18th Fribourg 1964 1968
19th Geneva 1968 1974
20th Zurich 1974 1977
21st Neuch tel 1978 1984
22nd Aargau 1984 1989
23rd Uri 1989 2001
24th Schaffhausen 2001 2002
25th Vaud 2002 2004
26th Zug 2004
28th Appenzell Innerrhoden 2004 2005
28th Ticino 2005 2009

See also

  • Liberalism and radicalism in Switzerland


External links

ca:Partit Radical Democr tic de Su ssa de:Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei es:Partido Radical Democr tico Suizo eo:Radikal-Demokrata Partio de Svislando fr:Parti radical-d mocratique id:Partai Demokrat Bebas Swiss it:Partito Liberale Radicale (Svizzera) la:Factio Liberalis Democratica (Helvetia) nl:Vrijzinnig Democratische Partij no:Freisinnig-demokratische Partei der Schweiz pl:Radykalno-Demokratyczna Partia Szwajcarii sv:Radikalerna (Schweiz) zh:

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