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Eberle: Where does he stand politically?

Roland Eberle, the newly elected cabinet member, was given little chance of victory in Wednesday's vote, being virtually unknown in national politics.

Since Eberle decided to stand as a successor to Adolf Ogi, his political views have been examined in detail by politicians and the press alike.

Eberle trained as an agronomist, and joined the city parliament in canton Thurgau in 1988. Six years later he became cantonal justice director, and in June this year he took charge of the finance department.

As a member of the right-wing Swiss People's Party, he had the backing of the party's populist figurehead, Christoph Blocher, but he has shown himself to be an independent thinker on a number of key issues.

He leans towards Blocher's hardline Zurich-based wing on certain issues, and to the more liberal Bern-based wing on others.

Where does Eberle stand on national political issues?

* Unlike the majority of his party, Eberle supports Swiss membership of the United Nations, which is due to come to a popular vote in 2002.
* He supports his party's opposition to membership of the European Union, saying "the time is not ripe". But in contrast to party hardliners, Eberle says he can live with the idea of collective responsibility on the issue. The government is pursuing membership.
* He is deemed a hardliner on issues of asylum and immigration, but he voted against a recent move to reduce the number of foreigners to 18 per cent of the population.
* He goes against the party line on legalising abortion and the consumption of marijuana, being in favour of both.

Eberle turns 47 on Thursday. He is married with three children.


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