Christoph Blocher, one of Switzerland’s best-known politicians, is stepping down as strategist of the conservative-right People’s Party, the party announced on Tuesday.
This comes as part of an internal party reorganization in the run-up to 2019 parliamentary elections. The People’s Party is Switzerland’s largest parliamentary party.
Billionaire Blocher, 77, is not, however, retiring from politics. He is now expected to concentrate on combatting the government’s plans for closer ties with the European Union in Brussels.
Blocher has been the party’s dominant figure since the late 1980s. Under his leadership, the party lurched to the right, adopting an anti-EU, anti-foreigner line and notching up a series of electoral successes. Blocher became party vice president from 2008 when he was ousted from the Federal Cabinet; in 2016 he took over the party strategist role.
People’s Party delegates are to meet on March 24 to confirm changes to the steering committee. Blocher's daughter Magdalena Martullo-Blocher has been proposed as party vice president, alongside Ticino parliamentarian Marco Chiesa.