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People’s Party rules out opposition option

The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has opted to stay in government, rejecting moves to go into opposition after a poor showing in recent elections.

Delegates at a party conference on Saturday voted in favour of keeping Defence Minister Ueli Maurer in his post in the cabinet, with 442 for and 25 against.

It was mainly members from canton Valais who backed going into opposition.  Among them, Jean-Luc Addor who said: “We should dare to leave the government. It’s a question of credibility but also of honour.”

Talks were heated and illustrated anger within the party at last year’s election results.

The party’s hard and uncompromising line was also criticised, with some delegates calling for less divisive policies.

In October’s general election the party vote dropped from 28.9 per cent to 26.6 per cent. Senate elections in November dealt another blow with chairman Toni Brunner and party strongman Christoph Blocher failing to win seats. Then in December’s cabinet elections, the party was sidelined by other parties and was unable to win back one of its previous two seats.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR