Swiss MPs oust far-right politician from government

Swiss lawmakers on Wednesday ousted leading far-right politician Christoph Blocher from the cabinet, even though his party won the most votes in October's general elections.

Swiss MPs oust far-right politician from government
Blocher, the key driver behind the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP), won the support of just 115 of the 246 lawmakers gathered in Bern, which was not enough to retain his seat in the governing Federal Council.

The SVP scored a record 29 percent of the vote in October's general elections, the best ever result for any Swiss party since 1919, but Blocher's aggressive stance and inflammatory politics made him many enemies in a political system more used to genteel consensus.

The fractious election campaign was marred by a riot and the SVP's tactics were denounced as racist by a United Nations expert.

Blocher served as Justice Minister on the seven-member Federal Council since 2003 but an unlikely alliance between left-wing parties and the Christian Democrats blocked his re-election.

In his place, they elected another SVP member, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who is considered to be on the more moderate wing of the party.

Widmer-Schlumpf could yet refuse the post, thus necessitating another round of voting.

The Federal Council is composed according to the so-called "magic formula" in place since 1959 designed to guarantee stability, with all four major parties represented.

The SVP had threatened to withdraw both its ministers from the Council if Blocher was not re-elected, making it a de facto opposition and raising the spectre of political paralysis.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2007, 16:27
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