The Council of States is considered the more powerful chamber of parliament. The seats there are even more sought after. While the election barometer for voter strengths in the National Council does not foresee any major upheavals, the balance in the Council of States could certainly shift.
Because different “rules” apply here. Party affiliations are certainly important, but the decisive factor is often something else: Is a candidate already in office or is he a challenger? How well known is a candidate, regionally and nationally? Does a candidate already have a cantonal executive office? How big is the “proportionate potential”, i.e. the ability to be elected beyond your own party?
The SRF correspondents assess the initial situation in all 26 cantons and classify the election chances of the most important candidates (see CH map below). This gives us an assessment of how the Council of States will change in the elections on October 22nd:
Assessment: Seat shifts in the Council of States
That has the best chances FDP, which could increase in several cantons (SO, TI, SZ, JU). Even if it were to lose one or two seats elsewhere (ZH, FR), on balance it can hope for an increased representation in the Council of States. If things go well for the Liberals, they would replace the center as the strongest party in the Small Chamber with up to 15 seats.
The middle cannot be sure of its 14 seats. A loss is possible in Schwyz and Jura, even if the center representatives compete again in both cantons. If the center is overtaken by the FDP, then that would be bitter for the former CVP; It was the strongest force in the Council of States for over 20 years.
The fact that different laws apply in the Council of States than in the National Council is shown again and again SVP. The party with the largest number of voters in the National Council by far has just half as many seats in the Council of States as the center. Now she could lose another one in the canton of Schwyz; It is uncertain whether it can compensate for this with a new headquarters in Zurich.
It will almost certainly have to give up SP, which already suffered two seat losses during the legislature because it could not hold the seats of the resigned Christian Levrat (FR) and Paul Rechsteiner (SG). Now other political heavyweights are no longer running in Bern, Solothurn and Ticino and the seat in Geneva could also be at risk. The balance sheet will not be much improved even with a likely seat gain in Vaud. After the all-time high of 12 seats in the 2015 elections, in the worst case scenario it would now end up with just 5 seats.
The green could make up for an almost certain loss in Vaud with a seat gain in Bern or Freiburg. The headquarters in Glarus is also at risk. However, a loss in the overall balance would not be so bad: the eco-party increased its number of seats from 1 to 5 in 2019.
For the GLP A Council of States seat is likely to be out of reach this year too, even if she runs in Bern with party president Jürg Grossen and in Zurich with parliamentary group leader Tiana Moser.
All in all, there could be a slight shift to the right, as in the National Council. However, the parties that could make gains in the National Council would tend to be on the losing side in the Council of States – and vice versa.