Christoph Blocher, the conservative right Swiss People’s Party grandee, is calling on his party to stop using people’s initiatives to shape its policies. The comments come shortly after the party’s defeat at the ballot box on Sunday, when its enforcement initiative for foreign criminals was roundly rejected.
The party needs to devote its energies to fighting the planned framework agreement between Switzerland and the European Union, as well as for the “National Law over International Law” initiative, argues the party’s chief strategist.
This signals a change of direction from the party vice-president. “We have to watch out that we don’t simply do a people’s initiative whenever something is dissatisfactory,” Blocher told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper on Tuesday.
Initiatives are instruments of the opposition, said Blocher. But the People’s Party now has two cabinet ministers. “We can now devote our energies to shaping what happens in the cabinet and parliament,” said Blocher.
Thorns in Blocher’s side are the people’s initiative to reintroduce border controls in Switzerland as well as the initiative against face coverings in public places– the “burka ban”.
The border control initiative will soon be launched by the Campaign for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland, which has strong links to the People’s Party. The committee behind the “burka ban” also has strong links to the right.