Swiss People's Party

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The Swiss People's Party or Democratic Union of the Centre (German: Schweizerische Volkspartei - SVP, French: Union Démocratique du Centre - UDC, Italian: Unione Democratica di Centro - UDC, Romansch: Partida Populara Svizra - PPS) was founded in 1971 by the merger of the Farmers, Artisans, and Citizens’ Party—generally known as the Agrarian Party—with the Democratic Party. It has pursued conservative social and economic policies, including lower taxes and reduced spending, as well as the protection of Swiss agriculture and industry. The party has also opposed Swiss membership in international bodies such as the United Nations, which Switzerland did not join until 2002.

Over the course of several recent elections, it has continually grown in power and (as of 2008) holds the most parliamentary seats of any party at the federal level. Its policies emphasize free market economics, low taxes, neutrality regarding foreign affairs, a tough stance on crime and a reduction of unwanted immigration. The party has enjoyed repeated success in mobilizing popular majorities for referenda and popular initiatives, often managing to set the political agenda against strong opposition from establishmnet elites.

In 2007 elections for the fourth election in a row the SVP won a significant, and largely unexpected victory. At the same time the liberal Social Democrats (SPS) did quite poorly; the SPS allies on the left, the Greens (GPS), did well.

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