The federal prosecutor's office is considering launching an investigation after two People's Party initiatives were found with around 20,000 fake signatures each - a fifth of all signatures gathered.This content was published on July 9, 2000 - 13:46
The two initiatives in question were on using surplus gold reserves for the state pension scheme, and on measures to prevent abuse of asylum rights.
The People's Party spokeswoman, Irène Schellenberg, confirmed a report in the Sunday newspaper, SonntagsZeitung, that the party itself had noticed an unusually high number of invalid signatures on its questionnaires.
The party said it is an act of sabotage, but added there was no suspect. It said the fake signatures originated from German-speaking regions of Switzerland.
The federal procesutor is to look into whether there are any grounds for an investigation. The submitting of false names in order to influence the outcome of an initiative is a punishable offence. For an initiative to be valid, at least 100,000 signatures from the general public need to be gathered.
Meanwhile, Schellenberg said the party needs to put its foot down in order to gather the necessary signatures for the asylum initiative by the end of November, and for the state pension scheme by February 2001.
The party president, Ueli Maurer estimated the extra costs will be in the region of SFR10,000.
swissinfo with agencies
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