Blocher accused of copying Jörg Haider

Professor Ötsch on the art of being a demagogue. ZVG

Christoph Blocher, the Swiss right-wing populist politician, has been likened to the leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party, Jörg Haider, in a new book by an Austrian professor.

This content was published on July 5, 2001 - 16:08

In his book "Haider light - a handbook for demagogy", Professor Walter Ötsch discusses the art of being a demagogue, using Haider as an example.

The book, which was presented in Zürich on Thursday, argues that Blocher, a member of the rightwing Swiss People's Party, copies some of Haider's practices.

"I have studied some of Blocher's speech practices and they are very similar to those used by the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ)," Ötsch said in an interview with swissinfo.

Blocher leads the Zurich wing of the People's Party, which is one of the four that make up the Swiss government.

Ötsch's book has become a bestseller in Austria, where more than 20,000 copies have been sold.

In Ötsch`s opinion, a demagogue should act as a redeemer for the people: "He should find out about people's fears, find scapegoats and tackle structural problems." He argues that a good demagogue must be able to convince his people that he would allay all their fears.

Ötsch also accuses the media of drawing too much public attention to rightwing institutions, which can sometimes backfire. "The media should not take part in this game and report in a sober rather than a sensational way."


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