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Further resignations possible in Social Democrats

The possibility of other members resigning from the leadership of the Social Democratic Party has been raised, following the announcement on Saturday that the president, Ursula Koch (pictured) was stepping down after a long-running party wrangle.

This content was published on April 17, 2000 - 08:32

The possibility of other members resigning from the leadership of the Social Democratic Party has been raised, following the announcement on Saturday that the president, Ursula Koch (pictured) was stepping down after a long-running party wrangle.

In a newspaper interview, the party's secretary-general, Jean-Francois Steiert, who was one of Koch's main opponents, indicated he might also step down. He said he would make a decision next month about whether to to seek re-election to the post at the party's October congress.

Several party members have also dropped hints he should resign so that the Social Democrats can start with a clean sheet after months of infighting.

In a letter to the party, Koch said she was stepping down for health reasons. There have, however, been accusations within the party that she was the target of "mobbing" by other party members intent on her resignation.

A three-member panel consisting of Ruth Dreifuss, Christiane Brunner and Franco Cavalli - all leading party figures - will now pave the way for party reforms and Koch's replacement. In the interim, the party's vice-president Pierre Aeby, will take over as acting chairman.

The internal conflict came into the open in February when Aeby, and another member of the executive, Jacqueline Fehr, urged Koch to resign.

Although Koch had large support among the Social Democrats' rank and file, her leadership style was heavily criticised within the upper echelons of the party.

swissinfo with agencies

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