Tensions increase in cabinet after reshuffle

The Social Democratic and Radical parties are at loggerheads following the cabinet reshuffle on Monday, in which the Social Democrats were seen to be the losers.

This content was published on September 29, 2010 - 09:58 and agencies

The centre-left party is considering its future in government after failing to secure any of the key ministries: interior, communications or economy and finance. Economics Minister Doris Leuthard instigated the reshuffle after claiming the soon-to-be-vacated transport and communications ministry.

Meanwhile the head of the Radicals, Fulvio Pelli, is threatening legal action against Social Democrat leader Christian Levrat for defamation. In principle members of parliament enjoy immunity from prosecution.

“I have been accused of being a liar by a party president who has trouble accepting things as they are,” Pelli told the media.

Pelli said he had been in politics “for 30 years and have never yet experienced anything similar to what has been going on in the past two days”.

Levrat had accused Pelli of reneging on promises that the Social Democrats would be allowed to retain a key ministry when two new members – the Social Democrat Simonetta Sommaruga and the Radical Johann Schneider-Ammann - were elected to the cabinet on Monday.

The Social Democrats are the only non centre-right party in the government.

Their future in the cabinet will be discussed at the Social Democrats party congress in Lausanne on October 30-31.

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