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Brunner opens debate on immigration

The president-elect of the Swiss Social Democrats, Christiane Brunner, wants a debate on immigration. Keystone / Lukas Lehmann

The only candidate to take over as president of Switzerland’s Social Democrats, Christiane Brunner, has touched on an extremely sensitive subject by calling for a clearly defined limitation on the number of new immigrants.

This content was published on September 16, 2000 - 21:59

In an interview with the "Neue Luzerner Zeitung" newspaper on Saturday, Brunner said: "Switzerland must be open to immigration. But there are limits – we must define just how much the country can put up with". She said that at the same time measures to enhance the level of integration had to be improved.

However, she distanced herself from the controversy surrounding the referendum on September 24 in which the Swiss will have decide on whether to limit the number of foreigners living in Switzerland to 18 per cent of the total population. "My suggestion has nothing to do with this issue," she said.

Brunner pointed out that the Social Democrats needed to come up with a sensible policy on immigration, without which xenophobia would get the upper hand in Switzerland.

She said that her party needed to be as successful at courting attention in important questions as the right-wing People’s Party. However, she argued that they were grabbing the headlines due to "an anti-social stance".

She is expected to take over the party’s presidency in October.

swissinfo with agencies

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