Swiss right-wing patriarch Blocher announces withdrawal from party politics

Under his leadership, the People’s Party lurched to the right. Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Christoph Blocher, one of Switzerland’s best-known politicians, and guru of the conservative-right Swiss People’s Party, has announced his withdrawal from party politics. But he promises he will continue to "speak out".

This content was published on October 9, 2020 - 13:21

The billionaire politician shared the news in an interview with Swiss public broadcaster SRF on Friday just ahead of his 80th birthday on Sunday.  

“I am 80 years old now and I notice that my strength is waning, for example my memory,” the former member of Switzerland’s governing Federal Council said in an interview on SRF.  

When it comes to politics, Blocher says he wants to cut back. "You must also be humble and say that it'll have to come to an end," he said, adding that he now wants to retire "for good". 

“Young people have to take over," he declared. Blocher's daughter Magdalena Martullo-Blocher is a member of parliament and vice-president of the People’s Party. 

Continue to "speak out"

But despite now being an ordinary party member, Blocher insists that he will continue to "speak out" on issues.

To hammer home this message, he issued a statement to CH Media on Friday to clarify his position: "I am withdrawing from party politics, but not from politics."

"I will help to sink the framework agreement with the EU," Blocher told CH media

Blocher has been his party’s dominant figure since the late 1980s. Under his leadership, the People’s 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 Council. In 2016 he took over the party strategist role that he renounced two years later.  

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