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Finance minister takes parting shot at ‘woke’ culture

Ueli Maurer
Folk good, woke bad: Ueli Maurer surrounded by yodellers on Saturday © Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Retiring Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer has tried to explain a controversial comment on gender-neutral people – in which he said he doesn’t want to be replaced by an “it” – by saying it was a deliberate provocation.

Maurer, 71, from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, was speaking at a delegate conference in Lucerne exactly a year before federal elections.

Maurer told delegates he was concerned not only by immigration but also by “woke” culture, a reference to people who are inclusive and alert to prejudice and discrimination. There is a rush to deal with the details instead of the big issues, he added.

When asked by a journalist at a press conference whether he would be happy if a woman succeeded him, Maurer replied: “I don’t really care whether my successor is a man or a woman – as long as the person isn’t an ‘it’, it’s OK.”

He claimed such a big controversy over such a small word showed society’s decadence. He said he didn’t care about a person’s gender.


When Maurer announced his retirement at the end of September, speculation quickly started about who would replace him. Parliament will elect his replacement on December 7.

People’s Party ‘virus’

On Saturday Maurer also praised the “excellent situation” of Switzerland, which, thanks to the People’s Party, has been able to retain its independence, he said. He called for the People’s Party “virus” to be spread – “this makes people happy and therefore doesn’t require masks or vaccines”.

The People’s Party was the strongest party in the 2019 federal elections with a voter share of 25.6%, although this was down from 29.4% four years earlier.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR