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Political party goes west

The Conservative Democratic Party has formed its first section in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, in canton Valais.

The launch in the town of Siders was attended by Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who is the party's sole representative in the Swiss cabinet.

Widmer-Schlumpf said on Friday evening it was important for the party – which was created in June following divisions in the rightwing Swiss People's Party – to be represented in French Switzerland and hoped Fribourg would soon follow suit.

As its name suggests, the Conservative Democrat Party is reclaiming values that are both right leaning and democratic. It wants to defend and promote the interests of the small and medium-sized businesses.

The party is against Swiss entry into the EU but supports the bilateral route, including the extension of the free labour movement agreement to Romania and Bulgaria.

At the federal level, the Conservative Democrats hold one seat in the government, four in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.

Party sections already exist in cantons Graubünden, Bern, Glarus, Thurgau, Aargau, Zurich and Obwalden.

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