- Free Democratic Party of Switzerland
Infobox Swiss Political Party
party_name = Free Democratic Party of Switzerland
party_wikicolourid = FDP
german_name = Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz (FDP)
french_name = Parti radical-démocratique suisse (PRD)
italian_name = Partito liberale radicale svizzero (PLR) | romansh_name = Partida liberaldemocrata svizra (PLD)
Pascal Couchepinand Hans-Rudolf Merz
foundation = 1848
headquarters = Neuengasse 20 Postfach 6136CH-3001 Berne
Liberalism, Conservative liberalism, Libertarianism
European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
colours = Blue
website = [http://www.prd.ch/ www.prd.ch] The Free Democratic Party of Switzerland ( _de. Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz (FDP), _fr. Parti radical-démocratique suisse (PRD); _it. Partito liberale radicale svizzero (PLR); _rm. Partida liberaldemocrata svizra (PLD)) is a liberal party in
Switzerland. Its youth organisation is Young Liberals.
The party is a member of
Liberal Internationaland the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. A few of the cantonal parties in Central Switzerland are/were named "Liberal Party" (Liberale Partei), and not affiliated with the Liberal Party of Switzerland.
As of March 2005, the party president is
Fulvio Pelli. Current members in the Federal Council are Pascal Couchepinand Hans-Rudolf Merz.
The elements liberal, radical and "free-thinking" (German "freisinnig") in the party's name suggest a left-wing party, while in the current political landscape of Switzerland, the FDP is center-right. This is because the name dates back to the conflicts during the period of Restauration between the Catholic conservative cantons and the Protestant liberal cantons that led to the foundation of the
Swiss federal statein 1848.
The bourgeois Protestant cantons had defeated the Catholic cantons, and from 1848 until 1891, the Federal Council was composed entirely of FDP members. The "Radical Party" of the restoration was actually left-wing compared to the Catholic Conservative Party, and it was only with the rise of the
Social Democratic Party of Switzerlandin the early 20th century that the FDP found itself on the right side of the political center.
After the federal election 2003 FDP and LPS founded a common group in the Federal Assembly. In June 2005 they strengthened their cooperation by founding
Radical and Liberal Union[ [http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/swissinfo.html?siteSect=881&sid=5899597 New alliance counters left-right polarisation - swissinfo ] ]
As a classical liberal party, the FDP generally opposes state intervention in social and economic affairs. Based on its conception of the individual as free, sovereign and self-responsible, it rejects notions of a
welfare stateand paternalist regulation that became common in Liberalism in other European countries in the late nineteenth century. The FDP professes faith in the free market, free trade, economic deregulationand the rule of law.
As regards specific issues, it is often labeled progressive with regard to social policy, supporting e.g. the legalisation of
soft drugsand legal recognition for same-sex couples. In economic policy, it generally favors reduced government spending, tax cuts and a flexible labour market. However, like most other Swiss parties it has no tradition of strong central leadership or ideological unity, and consequently the views of its individual representatives or functionaries vary considerably across the rough center of the political spectrum.
The FDP is often considered to be closely associated with Swiss business interests, in particular
banks and pharmaceutical companies. In the eyes of its detractors on the Right, this has caused it to abandon its liberal values at times, e.g. by its support of import protection for medicineor of the expensive 2002 government bailout of the failing national airline, Swissair.
In 2003, it held 36 mandates (out of 200) in the
Swiss National Council(first chamber of the Swiss parliament); 14 (out of 46) in the second chamber and 2 out of 7 mandates in the Swiss Federal Council(executive body). By 2005, it hold 27,2% of the seats in the Swiss Cantonal governmentsand 19,7% in the Swiss Cantonal parliaments(index "BADAC", weighted with the population and number of seats). At the last legislativeelections, 22 October 2007, the party won 15.6 % of the popular vote and 31 out of 200 seats. [ [http://www.politik-stat.ch/nrw2007CH_de.html Nationalrat 2007 ] ]
Yann Richter, Neuchâtel
Bruno Hunziker, Aargau
Franz Steinegger, Uri
Gerold Bührer, Schaffhausen
Christiane Langenberger, Vaud
Rolf Schweiger, Zug
Fulvio Pelli, Ticino
Contributions to liberal theory
List of liberal parties
Liberalism and radicalism in Switzerland
* [http://www.fdp.ch/ Free Democratic Party] official site (in German)
* [http://www.prd.ch/ Free Democratic Party] official site (in French)
* [http://www.jungfreisinnige.ch/ Young Liberals Switzerland] official site of the youth branch, called jungfreisinnige schweiz (in German/French)
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