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Political party merger becomes official

The Swiss centre-right Radical Party and the smaller Liberals have officially merged to form a new political party.

Delegates from the two parties approved the creation of the Radicals-Liberals on Saturday in Bern.

The merger was given the green light by the parties during their general assemblies in October in a bid to become a stronger political force in Switzerland and attract new voters.

Fulvio Pelli, head of the Radicals, the third largest group in parliament, was elected president by the 250 delegates present on Saturday.

He vowed that the new party would first win the cantonal elections and then at the federal level in 2011.

He told delegates that there needed to be more responsibility and solidarity in politics and business to preserve the Swiss economy.

Commenting on the burning issue of banking secrecy, he added that the party would act to ensure that Switzerland did not provide further details of UBS customers to the United States authorities.

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