The Swiss Social Democratic Party, founded in 1888, celebrated its 125th anniversary on Saturday with speeches by former and current politicians on a square in the heart of the Swiss capital, Bern.
“Our history was in no way a voyage to paradise,” said former cabinet member Ruth Dreifuss, who became Switzerland’s first female President in 1999. She saw it more as a constant war against poverty, discrimination, and violence.
Former party president Helmut Hubacher said that there is a “red thread in the history of the SP: political commitment to a social Switzerland that is more just and more democratic.”
The party’s current president, Christian Levrat, spoke of its past. The party began as a large popular movement, including the unions, and later expanded to include pacifists, feminists and ecologists, he said. Among the party’s successes he counted social security, public utilities, maternity insurance, pensions, and women’s right to vote.
Current cabinet members Simonetta Sommaruga and Alain Berset remarked that the party has not yet achieved all its goals and has a lot of work ahead.
To mark the event, party members released 125 red helium balloons with small cards listing the party’s fundamental values: justice, liberty, democracy, equality and fraternity.
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