Populism in Switzerland: PRAVDA.Ru interviews the Swiss People's Party

Greetings Mr. Schluer! We are very happy that you took the time to give PRAVDA.Ru this exclusive interview. We also appreciate the opportunity to talk to a member of the Swiss parliament.

You are a member of the Swiss People’s Party, which received 23 percent of the vote in 1999. You are also a member of the Swiss Parliament and a member of the commission of foreign affairs. Please tell us about the Swiss People’s Party. What are its goals? How would you classify this party? Does this party consider itself to be “right-wing” or “populist,” as is often said in the international media?

The Swiss people's party (SPP) makes a strong effort for the independence of Switzerland. As a neutral country, Switzerland should become neither NATO nor European Union member. Each citizen should be able to unfold his life and its economic existence free and self-responsible. Healthy finances of the state, renouncement of rearrangement bureaucracy are the preconditions for it. Fact is that the SPP hurries from victory to victory in all Swiss elections for approximately the last 25 years. Obviously the SPP message is understood by the population and meets broad agreement. This is the reason why the SPP is so often called “populist” by the looser parties. In truth only the SPP detects the needs of the citizens best.

A few years ago, there was a very large scandal concerning the Swiss government during WWII and “Nazi gold.” It was said that Switzerland profited at the expense of victims of the war. Was there much of political fallout in Switzerland over this subject?

This demand was raised from the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in New York. It was rejected as unjustified and unfair a long time ago. During the Second World War, Switzerland opened its boarders for more Jewish refugees than any other country in the world including the United States. As a small country, Switzerland was unfortunately not able to take up all refugees in the time, when it was completely enclosed by the German Nazis and their allies from 1940 to 1945.

In order to be able to survive during the war, Switzerland had to trade, in particular on the import by raw materials, because the country did not possess any raw materials. It is obvious that such critical commercial transactions could not be handled easily in these years, since Switzerland was completely enclosed by the Nazis. Nevertheless Switzerland was then the only country in Western Europe, which never collaborated with the Nazis.

I have read that your party opposed the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Why was this the case?

In fact, the SPP criticized the 1999-bombings of NATO in Yugoslavia. This was because no mandate of the UN Security Council had been given for it. A country, which always stands for international law, cannot approve a procedure which hurts international law.

Recently Switzerland decided to join the United Nations. What does this mean for Swiss neutrality, something that the Swiss people have long prided themselves in? What is your party’s position on this issue?

The Swiss people's party fought the entry of Switzerland to the UN. Unfortunately, it lost the referendum vote scarcely. The entry of Switzerland to the UN will impair the neutrality of Switzerland.

If your party does come to power in Switzerland, what changes would you like to see made?

If the SPP would have a majority to determine politics alone, it would implement the return of Switzerland to integral neutrality. It would relieve the national budget saliently, so that taxes become lower and national indebtedness could be stopped.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The SPP firmly stands for the traditional Swiss direct democracy. This means the fundamental right of every Swiss, not only to elect the parliament, but to decide in referendums on all questions of high interest. The direct democracy is today in particular threatened by international conventions, which Switzerland joined by government resolutions.

As a consequence of such international agreements, more and more national related cases are no longer submitted to the populations vote, because they are determined through international agreements. This is for example the case concerning the right of Swiss voters, to decide which foreigners are accepted to get Swiss citizenship. This right is gradually to be taken away from Swiss voters by international conventions with mandatory agreements.

Thank you Mr. Schluer very much for the interview! We at PRAVDA.Ru wish the Swiss People's Party success in the future.

Questions by Justin Cowgill

For more information on the Swiss People's Party, please visit http://www.svp.ch/

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