Switzerland chooses right-wing defence minister

Switzerland chooses right-wing defence minister
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The right-wing Swiss Peoples Party has its foot back in the door of power thanks to Ueli Maurer, an anti-European xenophobe who is now the new Swiss defence minister. After a year of self-declared opposition the Swiss People’s Party put forward two candidates on a joint ticket, the other being party President Christoph Blocher. Parliament deemed Maurer more palatable, but he beat the centre-left favoured opponent by just one vote.

On taking office he said: “I can assure you that I will use all my force to find a solution for our country in the interests of all who live here. I am conscious that this happens in a time of enormous tension within our party and I ask you, on whatever side you stand, for your support.”

The former defence minister announced his resignation last month. With the appointment of Maurer the line-up is now complete again. The Swiss Peoples Party has admitted its role of classic opposition group has not been successful. Switzerland has a tradition of power sharing between the political forces.

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