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Social Democrats postpone decision on Koch's future

Switzerland's Social Democrats have resisted moves to hold a special congress to tackle the crisis surrounding party president Ursula Koch (picture). The party's central committee overwhelmingly backed the decision at a meeting in Berne.

This content was published on March 4, 2000 - 19:16

Switzerland's Social Democrats have resisted moves to hold a special congress to tackle the crisis surrounding party president Ursula Koch (picture). The party's central committee overwhelmingly backed the decision at a meeting in Berne.

The central committee voted 57 to ten against holding a special congress this summer, to decide whether to retain Koch or choose a new leader. The Social Democrats effectively postponed any decision until their party conference, which is scheduled to take place in October in Lugano.

A spokeswoman told reporters that during the five-hour debate preceding the vote, the committee had taken stock of personal, organisational and structural problems.

Koch has steadfastly refused to step down, despite mounting pressure on her to do so. She has come under attack for her style of leadership, which is perceived by many to be out of touch with grass-roots concerns.

Koch has admitted to certain shortcomings, particularly in her handling of communications, but says she sees no reason to end her three years in office.

The crisis within the Social Democrats came to a head last month after a meeting of party officials designed to heal the rift in the leadership. Another meeting last week effectively postponed debate on the issue but did set up a three-person committee, including Koch, to look at reforms within the party.

From staff and wire reports

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