People’s Party in the news again, on several fronts: Zuppiger guilty of “confidence abuse”, Amnesty mockery, treaty block failure
New anti-immigrants initiative surfaces
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland’s UDC right-wing party was back in the news in spades at the start of October. Former party candidate for the Federal Council, Switzerland’s cabinet, Bruno Zuppiger, was found guilty by a Zurich court 1 October of abuse of confidence for skimming CHF240,000 off the estate of a former employee, for which he was the executor. The money was designated for two public service groups. The public prosecutor is asking for a suspended 13-month sentence.
The party and other conservative groups who hoped to block Swiss Rubik tax treaties with a number of countries, including Germany and the UK, failed to come up with the necessary signatures to call for a referendum, by the Monday deadline. The right has argued that the treaties are damaging to Switzerland’s sovereignty.
But the party was in form Monday with an announcement that it is starting a new campaign for tougher Swiss asylum laws, after its partial success in parliament last week. Half of the 45 proposals the party made to clamp down on what it calls the “insupportable disfunctioning” of the asylum system were passed, but in a statement the UDC says “it would be an illusion” to think getting these measures through parliament will solve the problem.
The UDC is famous outside Switzerland for over-the-top posters against immigrants in general and asylum seekers and Muslims in particular, although the party has long argued the posters can be read two ways. Inside the country the party does not describe itself as right-wing, but rather as defending traditional values.
The UDC’s outspoken Oskar Freysinger, one of Amnesty’s satire targets, once told GenevaLunch, in speaking of the media in general, that “When you complain that our campaign tactics are too aggressive, you’re doing our work for us – you’re getting us a lot of publicity!”