Greens surge in Swiss election as climate change worries come to the fore

(Reuters News, 20 Oct 2019) Far from the sea, Switzerland is especially vulnerable to climate change as temperatures in the country are rising twice as quickly as the global average.

Support for the Greens surged in Switzerland's election on Sunday, moving politics to the left and putting environmentalists in the mix for a seat in the broad coalition that has governed the country for decades.

The far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) remained in first place, according to projections after the parliamentary election, but like other big parties lost ground as environmentalist parties seized on voters' concerns about climate change to shake up the political establishment.

"It is not a green wave, it is a tsunami, a hurricane," Celine Vara, deputy Greens leader who won a seat in the upper house of parliament for Neuchatel canton, told Swiss radio.

Far from the sea, Switzerland is especially vulnerable to climate change as temperatures in the country are rising twice as quickly as the global average.

"I think it is pretty obvious that is the most important topic of all in our time and age. There is really not any time to lose," said Anja, a 25-year-old psychology student, who gave only her first name at a Bern polling station.

The SVP, which won a record number of seats in 2015 amid Europe's refugee crisis, slipped 3.6 points to 25.8% while the Greens' share surged 5.9 points to 13.0% of the vote for the lower house, according to a gfs.bern projection for broadcaster SRF.

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Reuters News, 20 Oct 2019: Greens surge in Swiss election as climate change worries come to the fore