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Government parties put differences aside

The Swiss People's Party and the Social Democrats have agreed to resume normal relations after resolving a dispute over comments made by the People's Party politician, Christoph Blocher.

The president of the People's Party, Ueli Maurer, said Blocher's comments had led to a "misunderstanding" which had now been cleared up.

Earlier this year, Blocher accused the Social Democrats of acting like Second World War fascists, an accusation that the People's Party has apparently distanced itself from. After meeting with his Social Democrat counterpart, Franco Cavalli, Maurer said his party did not see any link between the Social Democrats and fascism.

The row between the two parties disrupted this week's preparations for the regular meeting between all four government parties. The von Wattenwyl talks, named after the building in Berne at which the parties meet, are normally used by party leaders to find consensus on forthcoming government business.

Following Friday's meeting with Maurer, Cavalli said the Social Democrats would once again take part in preparatory talks with all three of their government partners. However, he added that his party had enjoyed "fruitful" three-way meetings this week with the Christian Democrats and the Radical Party, and said the Social Democrats would continue to hold informal talks without the People's Party.

swissinfo with agencies

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