Navigation

Maurer plays down party divisions

The Swiss People's Party president, Ueli Maurer, is playing down internal political differences, following the decision by two former leading officials to turn their backs on the party.

This content was published on March 21, 2000 - 18:21

The Swiss People's Party president, Ueli Maurer, is playing down internal political differences, following the decision by two former leading officials to turn their backs on the party.

Maurer said he regretted the moves but indicated the two people concerned were not important members of the party. In an interview with German-Swiss television, Maurer said that while two people had left, hundreds more had joined the party recently.

A former secretary-general, Myrtha Welti, announced her departure on Monday, and another former secretary-general, Max Friedli, said he was suspending his party membership.

A major row has erupted within the party - one of the four in the Swiss government - over a series of issues. They include:

* The leadership style of the party's most outspoken member, billionaire businessman Christoph Blocher.
* Blocher's attack on the Social Democrats whom he accused of closer to fascism than the People's Party.
* Internal party moves which have strengthened Blocher's Zurich section of the party at the expense of the more liberal Berne wing.

On Monday, the Bernese branch addressed a letter to the national organisation complaining of internal divisions in the party and demanding greater respect from the Zurich section.

In another blow to party unity, a former People's Party member of the Senate, Ulrich Zimmerli, has called on leaders of the Berne section to come up with counter-arguments to Zurich within the next month. If they do not do so, he told a newspaper, members in Berne should quit the party.

swissinfo with agencies

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?