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Swiss people apparently oppose public funding of parties

The Swiss people reject the idea of the state financing of political parties, according to a new survey. This runs contrary to the wishes of the Social Democrats president, Ursula Koch.

The Swiss people reject the idea of the state financing of political parties, according to a new survey. This runs contrary to the wishes of the Social Democrats president, Ursula Koch.

Two-thirds of the people oppose any taxpayer’s money being spent to help support political parties, says the new opinion poll carried out by Swiss-German television and the newspaper,Sonntagszeitung.

But 41 per cent of those questioned equally opposed or supported the current system of parties relying on private companies and individuals.

The issue has come to the fore since it was disclosed last week that Credit Suisse had cut its donations to two of the four parties in government, the Radicals and the People’s Party, because of criticism within their ranks of the global settlement the banks reached in 1988 to settle the issue of dormant Holocaust-era accounts.

Party leaders are expected to discuss the issue of financing within the next few days, Swiss-German television reported late on Saturday.

The Social Democrats president, Ursula Koch, called for a reform of the funding of political parties in the wake of the Credit Suisse decision. The funding of parties by private concerns has led to allegations that they are likely to be influenced by private interests. This has been denied by the centre-right parties.

“I would not say that funding from business is bad. There have been problems when decisions have been taken that weren’t in the interests of a company. But these problems show that political parties are independent,” said Radical Party spokesman Guido Schommer earlier this week.

From staff and wire reports.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR