FDP.The Liberals

FDP.The Liberals
German: FDP.Die Liberalen
French: PLR.Les Libéraux-Radicaux
Italian: PLR.I Liberali
Romansh: PLD.Ils Liberals
PresidentPetra Gössi
Federal CouncillorsIgnazio Cassis
Johann Schneider-Ammann
Founded1 January 2009; 9 years ago (2009-01-01)
Merger ofFree Democratic Party, Liberal Party
HeadquartersNeuengasse 20
Postfach 6136
CH-3001 Bern
Youth wingYoung Liberals
Membership (2015)120,000[1]
IdeologyLiberalism[2]
Classical liberalism
Conservative liberalism[3]
Political positionCentre-right[4][5][6]
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
International affiliationLiberal International (observer)
Colours     Azure
Federal Council
2 / 7
National Council
33 / 200
Council of States
13 / 46
Cantonal executives
42 / 154
fdp-gr.ch (Romansh)

FDP.The Liberals (German: FDP.Die Liberalen, French: PLR.Les Libéraux-Radicaux, Italian: PLR.I Liberali, Romansh: PLD.Ils Liberals) is a liberal[6][7] political party in Switzerland. It is the joint-largest party in the Federal Council, third-largest party in the National Council, and the largest in the Council of States.

The party was formed on 1 January 2009, after two parties, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the smaller Liberal Party, united. In Vaud and Valais, the parties retain separate organisations. Its youth organisation is Young Liberals. With 120,000 members as of 2015, the FDP has the most members of any party: 20% more than the second-placed Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (CVP).[1]

The party is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and an observer member of the Liberal International. The party's president is Petra Gössi. The current FDP representatives in the Federal Council are Ignazio Cassis and Johann Schneider-Ammann.

History

The party was formed in 2009 from the merger of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Liberal Party. The radical Free Democratic Party, also called the 'Radicals', was Switzerland's major establishment party.[8] Founded in 1894, the party's classical liberal predecessors had governed Switzerland outright for most of the 19th century, and had been the guiding force behind the creation of modern Switzerland.[8][9] The Liberal Party, known as the 'Old Liberals', represented the French-speaking establishment: again rooted in the conservative liberalism of the nineteenth century. It also had a distinctly liberal Protestant outlook.[8]

In the 2003 federal election, the two parties formed an electoral alliance. In the election, the Liberals were reduced to four seats, below the five required to form an official grouping in the Federal Assembly, so the two formed a joint caucus.[10] In June 2005, the two founded the Radical and Liberal Union, which aimed to promote liberal goals through deeper cooperation.[11] In 2007, the women's arms of the parties merged, while the youth wings merged the following year to form the Young Liberals. Agreement on the merger of the federal parties was agreed in October 2008.[10] The agreement was adopted on 28 February 2009, applying retroactively to 1 January 2009.[12] FDP President Fulvio Pelli of Ticino became the party's first leader, while Liberal President Pierre Weiss was named one of four Vice-Presidents.[12]

Separate Free Democrat and Liberal branches remained in competition with each other in Geneva, Valais, and Vaud. In May 2011, the party's two Geneva branches – Liberal Party of Geneva and Radical Party of Geneva – merged to form a single FDP.The Liberals cantonal branch.[13] In the 2015 federal election, the FDP increased its share of the popular vote by 1.3%, the first time it had increased since the 1979 federal election.[14]

Percentages of the FDP at district level in 2011
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