Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland

The Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland (German: Bürgerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz, BDP; French: Parti bourgeois démocratique suisse, PBD; Italian: Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero, PBD; Romansh: Partida burgais democratica Svizra PBD , PBD; all translations mean literally Swiss Democratic Bourgeois Party) is a conservative[5] political party in Switzerland. Since the 2015 General election, the BDP has had seven members in the National Council and one in the Council of States.

Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland

Bürgerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz (BDP) (German)
Parti bourgeois démocratique suisse (PBD) (French)
Partito borghese democratico Svizzero (PBD) (Italian)
Partida burgais democratica Svizra (PBD) (Romansh)
PresidentMartin Landolt
Founded1 November 2008
Split fromSwiss People's Party
HeadquartersPostfach 119
CH-3000 Bern 6
Membership (2015)6,500[1]
Political positionCentre[1] to centre-right[3][4]
European affiliationNone
International affiliationNone
Colours     Yellow (official)
     Black (customary)
Federal Council
0 / 7
National Council
3 / 200
Council of States
1 / 46
Cantonal executives
4 / 154
Cantonal legislatures
66 / 2,609

It was founded as a moderate splinter group from the national-conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP), and was founded as a political party on the federal level on 1 November 2008.[6] It is led by Martin Landolt, and had, until January 2016, one Federal Councillor, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, whose election in defiance of the SVP incumbent Christoph Blocher led to the creation of the party. It comprises most of the SVP's old centrist-agrarian wing, which had been overshadowed in recent years by its nationalist-activist wing.

The party's name in German, French, Italian and Romansh comes from "bourgeois", the traditional European term for a centre-right party.


Soon after Widmer-Schlumpf's election to the Federal Council, the SVP excluded both her and the SVP's other Federal Councillor, Samuel Schmid, from the party group. Schmid, like Widmer-Schlumpf, was a member of the SVP's moderate wing, and the SVP's dominant nationalist wing reckoned them both as unrepresentative of the SVP's populist campaigns. Some SVP members demanded that Widmer-Schlumpf and Schmid be thrown out of the party altogether. However, Swiss parties are legally federations of cantonal parties, and the SVP could not expel them directly. For them to have been expelled, the party's Graubünden and Bern sections, to which Widmer-Schlumpf and Schmid belonged respectively, would have had to expel them.

On 2 April 2008 the national SVP leadership called for Widmer-Schlumpf to immediately resign from both the Federal Council and the party. When Widmer-Schlumpf declined to do so, the national SVP demanded that the Graubünden branch expel her. The Graubünden section stood by Widmer-Schlumpf, and was expelled from the national SVP on June 1.

On 16 June 2008, the delegates' convention of the SVP's former Graubünden branch voted to change its name to BPS Graubünden (Conservative Party of Switzerland-Graubünden), becoming the first cantonal section of what would become the BDP.[7] A second cantonal section was founded in Bern on 21 June 2008 under the name BDP (Conservative Democratic Party);[7][8] the change from BPS to BDP was due to a name conflict with the extant minor party Bürgerpartei Schweiz (Citizen's Party of Switzerland), which has the same acronym BPS. As a result, the Graubünden branch also changed its name to BDP Graubünden.[9][10] Soon afterward, nearly all of the SVP's Bern section, including Schmid, defected to the new party.

Eleven other cantonal branches have been founded, predominantly in German-speaking Switzerland: Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Fribourg, Glarus, Lucerne, Schwyz, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Valais, and Zürich.

Political positions

The BDP supports bilateral accords with the European Union, and it opposes the tightening of Switzerland's asylum.[11] It opposes additional benefits to health insurance, although it does not necessarily support limiting them.[11] The BDP supports the raising of the retirement age,[11] opposes any relaxation to requirements to receive social welfare,[11] and supports same-sex marriage.[11]


BDP has one seat in the Council of States, and 3 out of the 200 seats in the National Council.

Seventeen members of the Grand Council of Bern defected to the BDP from the SVP. In the 2010 election, the number of BDP councillors increased to 25, making the BDP the third-largest party in Bern, behind the SVP and Social Democratic Party

Having been founded by the mass defection of the local SVP, the Conservative Democrats are also the third-largest delegation in the Grand Council of Graubünden, with 30 seats, behind the Christian Democratic People's Party and FDP.The Liberals. The BDP is also the third-largest party in the Cantonal Council of neighbouring Glarus, with ten of the legislature's sixty seats.

After the BDP had lost four seats in the 2019 election and therefore lost its status as an own parliamentary group, the remaining three parliamentarians decided to join a parliamentary group together with the CVP and the EVP. [12]

Party strength over time


Percentage of the total vote for the Conservative Democratic Party in Federal Elections, 2011–2015[13]
St. Gallen3.83.6
1.^a * indicates that the party was not on the ballot in this canton.

Party presidents

Notes and references

  1. The Swiss Confederation – a brief guide. Switzerland: Swiss Confederation: Federal Chancellery. 2016. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  2. Teuwsen, Peer (October 24, 2011). "In der Schweiz Tut Sich Was". Die Zeit. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  3. "Zeitstrahl: Die BDP - Von der Rechts- zur Mitte-Partei: Mitte-Partei BDP legt ein Feuerwerk hin", Entscheidung11 (in German), Schweizer Fernsehen, retrieved 1 February 2012
  4. "Die politische Mitte splittert sich zusehends auf", (in German), retrieved 1 February 2012
  5. Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Switzerland". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  6. Die BDP Schweiz Wird am 1 November Gegruendet NZZ
  7. "SVP Graubünden mit neuem Namen" (in German). SF. 16 June 2008.
  8. Abspaltung von der Berner SVP vollzogen (Schweiz, NZZ Online)
  9. - SVP-Spaltung perfekt Archived 2012-07-30 at
  10. Bündner SVP-Abspaltung übernimmt Namen der Berner (Schweiz, NZZ Online)
  11. "Swiss Political Parties Reveal Their Colours". Swissinfo. September 11, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  13. Nationalratswahlen 2015: Der Wandel der Parteienlandschaft seit 1971 (Report). Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
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