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Top politician tells ‘corrupt’ Eurovision to stay away from Bern

Eurovision
Nemo, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland, wants next year's event to be held in Biel/Bienne Keystone

A social media post by the president of Bern’s cantonal government critical of the Eurovision Song Contest has created waves and will be discussed in the cantonal parliament.

On Saturday Switzerland won the 2024 competition, held in Malmö, Sweden, and as a result will host the event next year.

+ Switzerland wins Eurovision Song Contest 2024

However, on Monday Philippe Müller, president of the cantonal government, tweeted that the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) “has been corrupt through and through for years” and this year was “also characterised by anti-Semitism & accompanied by terrible incidents of violence with police operations”.

Müller, from the centre-right Radical-Liberal Party, is also the cantonal security director. He ended his tweet with “ESC: stay away from Bern!”

Müller’s comments certainly ruffled the feathers of the mayor of Biel/Bienne, home of Eurovision winner Nemo. “I am ashamed to be Bernese. I am ashamed of this president of the government,” Erich Fehr said in a radio interview.

Parliamentarian Manuel Widmer on Tuesday submitted an urgent interpellation: he wants to know what evidence Müller has that the Eurovision Song Contest has been corrupt through and through for years, whether Müller is expressing the opinion of the cantonal government, and, if not, whether any member of the government is free to contradict an official opinion of the executive on social networks or to anticipate a decision.

Widmer said he feared Müller may have slammed shut doors that will be difficult to open again.

Müller did not provide any evidence to support his claims of corruption. Cantonal government spokesman Reto Wüthrich said Müller had expressed a personal opinion on X (formerly Twitter) and that Müller would not be providing any further comment.

The cantonal government is expected to address the issue at its next meeting on Wednesday. Without the support of the canton, it would be unthinkable to organise the Eurovision Song Contest next year in a Bernese city.

+ Eurovision victory raises tricky questions

Biel/Bienne alone does not have sufficient infrastructure for such an event. In canton Bern, a bid would concern the capital city, Bern, or possibly a joint bid of Bern and Biel/Bienne. Other Swiss cities such as Geneva, Basel and Zurich are also likely to be interested in hosting the event, but nothing has been decided.

The Eurovision Song Contest generated around CHF62 million ($68 million) for host Liverpool in 2023. However, organising the event is also expensive. The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SWI swissinfo.ch’s parent company, wants to select the Swiss host city in a bidding process.

Translated from German, French and Italian by DeepL/ts

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This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles. 

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