Lobbying power in parliament – These lobbies have lost influence in the new parliament – News


Since the bourgeois gains in the federal elections, it has been clear: the National Council is becoming more rural and somewhat more male – but what interests does the new parliament represent? The data analysis shows the currently strongest and weakest lobbies in parliament.

It’s not just the new distribution of seats in parliament that will influence Switzerland’s politics over the next four years. Interest groups also influence the political course in Switzerland through their lobbying work. The national and state councils themselves are an important part of lobbying through their personal connections to the interest groups.

For many, this political process is still not very transparent. In order to show the current balance of power between the various lobby groups, SRF analyzed data from the Lobbywatch association, which compiles the interests of the new parliament.

Parliament is becoming more transparent about income

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A new Evaluation of Lobbywatch shows that Parliament is becoming more open to the full Declaration of your income concerns. According to the current transparency list, we have good 58 percent the newly elected representatives in autumn 2023 provided corresponding information.

In 2017, the majority of people’s representatives refused to disclose how much they earned from mandates – at that time it was only 15 percent.

When there is a change in legislature, many lobbies initially lose influence because relationships and mandates that have been built up over many years are lost due to MPs who leave. Which lobbies have lost the most?

Environmental lobby with relatively the greatest loss

When including both unpaid and paid mandates, the environmental industry’s loss of connections is most notable. It currently includes around a third fewer connections to the Federal Palace than before. The poor performance of the Greens and the GLP in the national elections appears to be a decisive factor in the significant loss here.

However, the loss mainly concerns the departure of some people with many connections to environmental groups. When it comes to the distribution of mandates throughout parliament, the loss looks a little smaller. While in the last legislative period 68 percent of parliament had connections to environmental lobbies, the figure is currently around 52 percent.

The health and foreign policy lobby sectors have also lost some of their interests. However, these are among the largest lobbying branches that are still strongly represented in the Federal Parliament.

Environmental mandates are less often paid

By no means all connections to the lobby industries are paid mandates. Environmental mandates in particular, for example, are paid less often. It is therefore worth narrowing down which lobbies are allowing their influence to be lost. Many politicians in Federal Bern supplement their income with extra-parliamentary mandates.

The energy and transport sectors lost the most paid mandates, nine each. In fact, there are also lobbying sectors that already won at the beginning of the legislative change.

The fact that Parliament has become more rural is reflected directly in the strengthening of the agricultural lobby. However, the clearest increase in paid mandates can be seen in the lobby of business and state politics.

Economy, health and transport are the strongest lobbies

Business remains by far the most influential lobby in parliament if you measure the influence of a lobby industry based on its paid mandates. If you include the unpaid connections, almost everyone in parliament – around 95 percent – has an interest in the economy.

The sectors with the most paid mandates also include state politics/economy, health, transport and agriculture.

Public transport lobby group loses the most

Lobby industries can be divided into further lobby groups: If you break the industries down into the individual lobby groups, it becomes clear that the public transport group has lost the most paid mandates.

The lobby groups in the areas of energy supply, tourism and hospitals have not lost any influence.

Civil parties have more paid mandates

The parties with the most lobby connections overall are the Center (294 paid mandates) and the SVP (281 paid mandates). Both were able to gain seats in the National Council (National Council SVP +9, Center +1) and also increased their paid mandates at the start of the new legislature.

This is followed by the business-oriented FDP, which has lost a National Council seat but still has around 250 paid connections to the lobbies. The second strongest party, the SP, holds comparatively significantly fewer paid mandates.

Newly elected candidates are initially courted by lobbyists

While the initial situation at party level is hardly surprising, the distribution of mandates among the newly elected remains exciting. The recruitment of new parliamentarians by organizations and interest groups has only just begun and does not stop at long-established ones. It remains to be seen which lobbies will be particularly successful in winning over new politicians with mandates and vested interests by next year.

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