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Populist right-winger launches attack on Socialism

One of Switzerland's best-known politicians, the right-wing populist, Christoph Blocher (pictured), has published a wide-ranging attack on socialism in Swiss politics.

One of Switzerland's best-known politicians, the right-wing populist, Christoph Blocher (pictured), has published a wide-ranging attack on socialism in Swiss politics.

The 24-page document argues that socialism has the same roots as fascism and national socialism. In the text, Blocher says these ideologies share the same goal of giving unlimited power to the state.

The document, called "Freedom instead of Socialism", has an initial print-run of 20,000.

At a news conference to launch the pamphlet, Blocher said his ideas were not particularly new, but that he felt the time was ripe for a public discussion of the issues. However, he said he was surprised by the widespread interest aroused by his arguments, from at home and abroad.

The pamphlet targets not only the Social Democratic Party, but is addressed to "socialists in all the parties". Blocher said this was because all the main parties were responsible for the growing role of the state over the past decade.

Even before the publication of the text, Blocher was strongly attacked by members of other parties. The president of Switzerland's Radical Party, Franz Steinegger, accused him in an interview with a Sunday newspaper of using the same arguments as Stalin in his attacks on his political opponents.

Recently out of hospital for heart treatment, Franz Steinegger jumped straight back into the political fray by accusing the outspoken Zurich parliamentarian, Christoph Blocher, of copying Stalin in his attacks on the People's Party's political opponents.

In an interview with the SonntagsBlick, Steinegger said Blocher was applying the term "socialist" to anyone who did not back him.

Steinegger said that, in Blocher's view, anyone who supported Switzerland's bilateral accords with the European Union was at least "half a socialist", including Steinegger himself. A nationwide vote on these accords is scheduled for May 21.

The Social Democrats reacted to a similar attack by Blocher earlier this year with a boycott on cross-party talks. The Social Democrats and Blocher's People's Party are represented in the government, together with the Radicals and Christian Democrats.

swissinfo and agencies

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