The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (also rendered as Swiss Socialist Party; ; ; ; ) is the largest centre-left political party in Switzerland.
The party was founded on 21 October 1888, and is currently the second largest of the four leading coalition political parties in Switzerland. It is the left-most party with representatives in the Swiss Federal Council. It is also the second largest political party in the Swiss parliament. The current members in the Swiss Federal Council are: Alain Berset and Simonetta Sommaruga.
The SP is the biggest pro-European party in Switzerland and supports Swiss membership of the European Union, unlike most other Swiss parties.
The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1927 and 1940.
The SP's positions in the Swiss political spectrum (2007). The SP supports classical social-democratic policies. To that rule, the SP stands for a government offering strong public services. The SP is against far-reaching economic liberalism, in favour of social progressivism, environmental policy with climate change mitigation, for an open foreign policy, and a national security policy based on pacifism.
In economic, financial, and social welfare policy, the SP rejects policies of economic liberalization such as deregulation, lowering taxes for high-income citizens, and decreases in government spending on social insurance. The SP also opposes raising the retirement age. In addition, the SP is a proponent of increasing welfare spending in some areas such as for a publicly financed maternity leave, universal health care and a flexible retirement age. In tax policy the SP opposes the notion of lowering taxes for high-income citizens. By campaigning for the harmonisation of all tax rates in Switzerland, the SP seeks more redistribution. The SP is skeptical toward the privatization of state enterprises. Nonetheless, the SP also promotes more competition in the areas of agriculture and parallel imports.
In social policy, the SP is committed to social equity and an open society. Thus, the SP aims at making working conditions for women in families easier by promoting more external childcare centers and more opportunities for part-time jobs. It also aims at reinforcing sexual equality in terms of eliminating wage differences based on gender. Supported civil union for homosexuals and taking an easier stance toward abortions. The SP also rejects strengthening restrictions on asylum seekers and immigrants. Thus, it supports the integration of immigrants by which the immigrants are assigned to immigration procedures immediately after entering the country. The SP has a liberal stance toward drugs and is in favor of publicly-regulated heroin consumption and the legalisation of cannabis. Nevertheless, the SP supports the smoking ban in restaurants and bars.
In foreign policy the SP promotes further participation by Switzerland in international organisations. It supports immediate entry of Switzerland into the European Union. The SP also stands for a less strict neutrality of Switzerland, which supports increased international efforts on the part of Switzerland in the areas of peace and human rights. Furthermore, the SP supports keeping the military neutrality and opposes entry into NATO. Its pacifist stance is also reflected in its military policy: The SP supports reducing the number of Swiss militia while making the military apparatus more professional and scrapping conscription. Another demand of the SP is to end the tradition of gun ownership, using severe and recent examples of abuse in terms of murder as proof.
Together with the Green Party of Switzerland, the Social Democrats have common environmentalist policies, which are reflected in the expansion of ecotax reforms and increased state support for energy saving measures and renewable energies. The SP is against the construction of new roads where possible and instead proposes to shift the transportation of good from the roads to the railways and the introduction of a cap and trade and traffic management system when it comes to transportation across the Swiss Alps. Furthermore, the SP stands for an expansion of the public transportation system network and opposes nuclear energy.
Strongest in urban areas, the Social Democrats' support is spread across the country. They hold a quarter of seats in cantonal parliaments, but are the largest party in only one: Basel-Stadt (coloured red above). In 2003, it held 52 mandates (out of 200) in the Swiss National Council (first chamber of the Swiss parliament); 9 (out of 46) in the second chamber and 2 out of 7 mandates in the Swiss Federal Council (executive body). By 2005, it held 23,8% of the seats in the Swiss Cantonal governments and 23,2% in the Swiss Cantonal parliaments (index "BADAC", weighted with the population and number of seats). At the last legislative elections on 22 October 2007, the party won 19,5 % of the popular vote and 43 out of 200 seats.
Members of the Swiss Federal Council
↑ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 323
↑ Nationalrat 2007
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