Swiss parliamentarian Ricardo Lumengo has given in to pressure to resign from the centre-left Social Democratic Party after being found guilty of electoral fraud.
“I shall post my letter of resignation and my party card tomorrow,” Lumengo said in a statement on Tuesday. He added that the decision had not been easy, but that it was the best solution for him and for the party.
Lumengo has appealed against the verdict passed by the local court in his home town of Biel on November 11, and says he will not give up his seat in the federal parliament unless his appeal is rejected.
“It is my duty to continue to work for those who elected me,” his statement says.
Immediately after the verdict the party had called on him to resign.
Lumengo was charged with filling in more than 40 ballot sheets allegedly in an effort to win a seat in the Bern cantonal assembly in 2006.
He says he was showing potential voters how to take part in elections and had written his own name as well as others on ballot sheets to illustrate the procedure.
Born in Angola, Lumengo fled civil war in the early 1980s and came to Switzerland where he studied law. He entered local politics in 2004 and became a member of the federal parliament for the Social Democrats in 2007.
swissinfo.ch and agencies