Polls close in Swiss general election

Other News Materials 21 October 2007 16:00 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Polls closed in Switzerland's general elections on Sunday after a bitter campaign marked by a riot and charges of racism levelled against the biggest party, the far-right Swiss People's Party's (SVP).

The first results from smaller constituencies were expected during the afternoon, with a first nationwide estimate by Swiss television due at 7.00 pm (1700 GMT).

A relatively strong turnout of about 50 percent of the 4.9 million voters was expected in the election for the 200 seats in the lower house, the National Council.

Forty-one of the 46 seats in the senate will also be decided.

The last opinion poll on October 10 indicated that the SVP was set to win 27.3 percent, 0.6 percent above its score in the 2003 election.

Among the three other major parties which have dominated Swiss politics for the past five decades, the Socialists fell to 21.7 percent, against 23.3 percent in 2003, according to the poll, while the centre-right Christian Democrats and the weakening pro-business Radical Party were nearly level at just over 15 percent each.