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Controversial Social Democrat resigns

One of the figures at the heart of a row which has wracked Switzerland's Social Democratic Party has resigned. The secretary-general, Jean-Francois Steiert, was behind the successful campaign to drive out the party president, Ursula Koch.

Steiert said the current discussions on reforming the party had led to his decision, but gave no further details.

Many Social Democrats, particularly rank-and-file members, had demanded his resignation because of his role in the campaign against Koch, which led to her stepping down last month.

Steiert's resignation, ahead of another party meeting on Saturday, eases the way for a Geneva politician, Christiane Brunner, to take over the party leadership later this year.

Brunner had wanted him to retain his post, but fellow Social Democrats had made it clear in recent days they would attempt to block her election if Steiert remained in office.

swissinfo with agencies

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