More candidates, more lists
A National Council seat must be a really attractive proposition. Never before have so many men and women shown the desire to take on the onerous task of an election campaign. According to figures provided by the Swiss Federal Chancellery, 3,788 candidates (compared with 3,458 in 2011) stood for election in the 20 cantons with proportional representation, representing a 9.5 % increase. In addition, a further 14 candidates stood in the six cantons with a majority voting system, each of which is allocated just one National Council seat (Appenzell-Ausserrhoden, Appenzell–Innerrhoden, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Glarus and Uri). In total, 3,802 people sought a National Council seat. The proportion of female candidates rose slightly compared to 2011, climbing from 32.8 % to 34.5 %. Since 2007, the figure has remained at around a third. The number of lists in the cantons with proportional representation has also increased, rising from 365 in 2011 to 422 lists.
A Swiss Abroad elected for the first time
The interest from the Swiss Abroad in a National Council seat declined slightly compared to the last election. This year 56 Swiss Abroad stood for election compared with 73 in 2011. Various parties offered “international lists”. The SVP, which had international lists in 10 cantons, was ahead in this respect. An element of disillusionment may explain the waning interest. While the political significance of the Swiss Abroad has grown since the introduction of postal voting in 1992, the chances of election have remained slim as most candidates are virtually unknown. The exception was the Social Democrat Tim Guldimann, a resident of Berlin who was a high-profile crisis situation diplomat and ambassador at important posts until his retirement in Germany in May 2015. He pulled off a coup in no time by becoming the first genuine Swiss citizen abroad ever to be elected to the National Council.