Swiss Federal Counselors’ Elections

First my comment: what all this dry news cannot tell is the excitement of a TV live transmission. When Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf finally pronounced ‘yes I accept’, I was as touched as when the Berlin Wall crashed down, in November 1989. This event was the result of a fresh elected parliament showing a real change in our ‘old Swissitude’.

(16.12.07 – This article replaces another one I posted here and retired from the net since):
Swiss MPs reject far-right leader: Swiss parliamentarians have forced far-right politician Christoph Blocher from his cabinet seat, despite his party’s record success in recent polls … (BBC – full text).

Some artists were quick to reinvent the infamous cartoon that Blocher’s party splashed on posters around the country in the run-up to the October polls, which depicted three pure white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag with a crafty flick of the back legs. Yesterday Blocher’s grinning face had been stitched on to the black animal, alongside the caption “For more security: get Blocher out of the cabinet”.

The surprise move shook up the stable world of Swiss politics, as the SVP threatened to pull out of the cabinet altogether unless Mr Blocher was reinstated. “If Blocher is not elected then the SVP will go into opposition,” the party’s outgoing president Uli Maurer told Swiss television shortly after the vote … (full text).
Widmer-Schlumpf says yes, UDC creates first opposition party, 13 December 2007: Immediately after her acceptance speech she and councillor Samuel Schmid, both of whom are UDC members, were excluded from the UDC parliamentary group by their party, which said it will become an opposiion party, leading Switzerland into a political no-man’s land, away from its traditional consensus approach to governance. [Ed. note: according to TSR (Television Suisse Romande), only the cantonal UDC party can "excommunicate" or force out of the party, its members. However, the declaration by Caspar Baader, head of the UDC parliamentary group, made it clear the two councillors will not have the support in Parliament of their national party members.]

Widmer-Schlumpf, from Graubunden, and Schmid, from Bern, are both members of relatively moderate wings of the UDC People’s Party. She is currently responsible for finances for canton Graubunden’s executive council … (full text).

Widmer-Schlumpf Joins Swiss Cabinet, Party Heads Out (Update1), by Marc Wolfensberger, Dec. 13 2007: Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, a member of the Swiss People’s Party elected to the Cabinet against her party’s will, accepted the post today. The party confirmed it will quit the government and go into opposition.

Widmer-Schlumpf, the canton of Graubuenden’s finance minister and daughter of former Swiss minister Leon Schlumpf, was immediately sworn in. Parliament elected her yesterday in place of her controversial party colleague Christoph Blocher, the justice minister, ending almost 50 years of four-party consensus in government.

Widmer-Schlumpf, 51, and Defense Minister Samuel Schmid, the other People’s Party Cabinet member elected yesterday, “will no longer be supported by the party,” the head of its parliamentary group, Caspar Baader, told the legislature after Widmer-Schlumpf accepted. The parties that elected her “have forced us to join the opposition.”

The decision by the People’s Party, Switzerland’s biggest political force, brings an end to the formula under which the country’s four largest parties have shared out the seven Cabinet seats among themselves since 1959, ensuring political and economic stability.

The last time a party went into opposition was in 1954, when the Social Democrats boycotted the government to reinforce their claim for a second seat.

`A Bit More Complicated’ … (full text).

Swiss Nativist Party Surges Ahead, from Intelligence Report on Southern Poverty Law Center, Winter 2007: Capitalizing on widespread fears about immigrants, the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in October surged forward to take 29% of the votes for the nation’s lower house, the best result for any Swiss party since 1919. The unexpectedly strong showing, which translated into 62 seats in the nation’s 200-seat National Council, came after a series of anti-immigrant proposals from the SVP that caused the United Nations special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Di�ne, to voice his alarm. Earlier in the year, Di�ne wrote an official UN report that criticized the “racist and xenophobic dynamic” operating in Switzerland … (full text).

Links:

short english video: big political upset in Switzerland;

Evelyn Widmer-Schlumpf accepts cabinet post;

The Swiss Federal Council on wikipedia (in its old composition with Christoph Blocher);

TSR: listen this video in french … ;

Swiss consensus government falls as rightists quit, by Mark Ledsom, December 13, 2007;

European Integration and Swiss Identities, by Dominik M�ller, Maitre d’Assistant at the University of Geneva, April 21, 1994;

Rightwing Swiss party places itself in opposition – 2nd Update;

Photo Gallery of the Election;

Swiss nationalist who provoked anger with anti-immigrant positions ousted from Swiss Cabinet;

Background Note: Switzerland, October 2007;

Switzerland in Turmoil as People’s Party Splits in Two;

What is the title of the head of government in Switzerland and how is he chosen;

New cabinet minister has politics in her blood;

SwissNews at a glance;

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf accepte son �lection;

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