It is a duo with a sharp left profile: With Mattea Meyer and Cédric Wermuth, a tandem clearly aligned to the left takes over the SP lead. This need not surprise anyone: the SP is a left-wing party. The discussion about the direction of the top is not new either, it is part of every presidium election.
Before Christian Levrat took over in 2008, a certain SP Councilor of States, Simonetta Sommaruga, spoke up in “Sonntags-Blick”. Twelve years later, Sommaruga expresses her express regret at the party congress that Levrat is leaving: “I have always been able to rely on Christian for the past ten years.”
Sommaruga’s warning from back then was not by chance: in fact, the SP share of the vote is at an all-time low today. But other social democratic parties in Europe have collapsed far more dramatically. And while Levrat couldn’t prevent wing battles from breaking out, he held the party together.
A number of challenges
Meyer and Wermuth can now prove that they are serious about allowing other currents. Conversely, this means that they also have to speak.
Cohesion within the party is not even the biggest task for the new presidium. Meyer and Wermuth practically take over the wheel in the perfect storm anyway.
There is the share of the vote: If the duo does not manage to lead the party back on the road to victory in elections, there is a risk of crash: Then one of the two SP Federal Council seats could wobble.
There is the pandemic: Corona continues to keep the world in suspense – including Switzerland. That makes the situation confusing, chaotic, unpredictable.
And there is the European question: In its current party program, the SP is still calling for the “rapid initiation of accession negotiations with the EU”. But at the latest since the discussion about the framework agreement, even in the SP, “the EU euphoria has largely vanished”, Levrat recently told “NZZamSonntag”.
«Back to the street»
The SP Presidium is meeting all of these challenges by breaking completely new ground. Not necessarily in terms of content: even under Levrat the party was clearly positioned on the left. Much more to the left than before, as some think, but in the way of politicizing. “Back to the street” is the motto: The rejuvenated duo want to mobilize more with new forms of campaign management, especially digitally. And all of this in twos, in the co-presidium – something that has never happened before at the SP.
These are new approaches. In the middle of the storm. The next election will take place in 2023.
Bundeshaus editor, SRF
Gaudenz Wacker is the SRF Bundeshaus editor. From 2006 to 2014 he worked for Regional Journal Basel, most recently as a correspondent for Radio SRF. He studied in Basel and before joining SRF worked at the University of Basel and for local media.