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Christian Democrats say yes to EU bilaterals

The Christian Democrats have voted in favour of Switzerland's bilateral accords with the European Union at their party congress. They also heard from the party president, Adalbert Durrer, that the "Magic Formula" system of government is under threat.

This content was published on March 25, 2000 - 17:58

The Christian Democrats have voted in favour of Switzerland's bilateral accords with the European Union at their party congress. They also heard from the party president, Adalbert Durrer, that the "Magic Formula" system of government is under threat.

The 191 delegates at the congress, sitting in Romanshorn, canton Thurgau, voted unanimously to campaign for a Yes vote in the national referendum on the accords on May 21.

The accords cover a diverse set of issues, ranging from transport to trade relations.

The congress was addressed by the government ministers and party members Ruth Metzler and Joseph Deiss. Metzler said a Yes vote would show the EU that Switzerland wanted to play a part in the future construction of the continent.

For Deiss, the accords' acceptance would mean huge advantages, not simply for the economy, but for the Swiss people as a whole.

Meanwhile, the congress heard that Switzerland's "Magic Formula" - the country's consensus-based multi party governing system - is in crisis, according to the party president, Adalbert Durrer.

Durrer told the party's congress, meeting at Romanshorn in canton Thurgau, that the Swiss people could no longer stand the increasingly bitter disputes amongst the country's governing parties. He said: "The Christian Democrats are not prepared to sit back and watch as disagreement prevents action".

"Political consensus means talking face to face", he continued, "and 'empty chair' boycotts lead nowhere". This was a reference to a recent dispute between the right-wing Swiss People's Party and the Social Democrats, which arose after Christoph Blocher, a leading People's Party member, said the Social Democrats were totalitarian.

The Social Democrats refused to attend a series of government meetings pending a People's Party apology, which was not forthcoming.

Durrer said that the current inter-party disputes were one reason why the Christian Democrats and the Radical Party had invited the Social Democrats and the People's Party to attend a crisis meeting on May 15. If this did not help calm the situation, the collapse of the "Magic Formula" was on the cards.

swissinfo with agencies


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