The dangerous game of the SVP

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A chair and, just behind, Alain Berset’s hat, a headgear furiously reminiscent of that of an Austrian bailiff: on February 15, this is the staging that the UDC had chosen when it submitted two petitions with nearly 300,000 signatures calling for the rapid end of confinement. A crisis, a scapegoat that does everything wrong: in the eyes of the SVP, everything is remarkably simple. You just have to reopen everything right away to “let the Swiss live and work”.

Working in the shadow of the commissions, the SVP tried – with the obliging help of the PLR ​​and sometimes the Center – to muzzle the Federal Council by wanting to impose in the covid law the deadline of March 22 for the reopening of stores. She ultimately failed in both Houses, but the damage is done.

On social networks and in the media, its leaders have continued to undermine the credibility of the Federal Council and institutions in general. In the NZZ then at the tribune of the National Council, the patroness of Ems-Chemie Magdalena Martullo-Blocher crossed all the red lines by comparing Switzerland to “a dictatorship” and advising to draw inspiration from China to control the virus. China? Yes, this country which hid the virus from the whole world for three months and where the whistleblower doctor was sanctioned instead of being listened to, before dying.

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By speaking of “dictatorship”, the SVP is committing a serious abuse of language, the consequences of which are difficult to measure. Still, the federal police deplore an alarming increase in intimidation and other threats against parliamentarians and federal councilors. Without being really aware of it, the SVP blows on the embers of a hate speech that could one day slip into physical violence. Swiss political culture, based on respect for the political opponent in a system of concordance in government, has never been threatened in the same way.

In the immediate future, the federal police had to strengthen the security measures of the federal advisers by discreetly flanking them with bodyguards when the situation warrants it. So far, they have been able to travel like everyone else in public transport. Ruth Dreifuss taking the bus in Bern or Didier Burkhalter waiting for his train at Neuchâtel station: these photos went around the world and Switzerland was proud of them. It is this closeness of rulers to their citizens, one of the symbols of our political culture, which is in danger today.