Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Eurosceptics win in Switzerland

The Democratic Union of the Centre has confirmed its position as the largest party in Switzerland, following federal elections on 21st October. Under the unofficial leadership of Christoph Blocher (the actual leader of the party is Ueli Maurer although Blocher is the most prominent member) the right wing and Eurosceptic UDC won 29 per cent of the vote, some 10 per cent more than its nearest rival, the Socialist Party.

Celebrating victory, Maurer said that the UDC had been supported by “everyone opposed to Switzerland joining the EU, everyone who wants to pay less tax, everyone who was law and order and less foreign criminality.” He said that the UDC’s score was the highest achieved by any party in Switzerland since 1919. The UDC is mainly known for its opposition to EU membership and it has called on the country to withdraw its application for membership, submitted in 1992. (The application has been on ice following the victory of a No vote in two referendums.)

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, known for its politicised judgements on elections in Eastern Europe, observed the poll and criticised the lack of legislation governing the financing of political parties: this echoed the protests of the losing parties, especially the Socialists, who protested at the amount the UDC spent on its campaign. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the UDC’s victory is that it was not confined to the German-speaking cantons. The party came first in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, it got more than 20 per cent in Geneva and came third in the Jura, where it had previously had very little support. The victory of the UDC has upset the hitherto very consensual mode of Swiss politics. [Agathe Duparc, Le Monde, 22 October 2007; François Hauter, Le Figaro, 23 October 2007]

---- An excerpt from Dr. John Laughland's Intelligence Digest. For a free e-mail subscription to the Intelligence Digest, please click here ----

No comments: