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Switzerland

Yearbook 1999

Switzerland. According to Countryaah official website, a right-hand wind blew over Switzerland in the October parliamentary elections when the immigrant hostile Swiss People's Party (SVP, Swiss Democratic Party - Union démocratique du center) became the second largest party after the Social Democrats (SPS, Social Democratic Party of Switzerland - Party Socialiste Suisse). SPS won 51 seats and SVP 44 of the 200 seats in Parliament's lower house. The Radical Party FDP (Freisinnig-Democratic Party of Switzerland - Party of radical democratique suisse) got 43 seats and the Christian Democrats (CVP, Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland - Party of Democracy-Switzerland suisse) had to settle for 35.

1999 Switzerland

The Swiss newspapers contained a number of articles on the election about the leader of SVP's more extreme phalanx, the controversial millionaire Christoph Blocher, who became a kind of symbol of aversion to immigrants, the EU and the UN. However, it is not possible for a person to dominate Swiss politics based on consensus and compromise, where many issues are decided in direct referendums.

For 40 years, Switzerland has been ruled by the Federal Council, a unifying government with the four largest parties, which according to the so-called magic formula divides into seven rotating ministerial posts. There, SPS, FDP and CVP each had two seats while SVP had one and so it remained after the election despite Blocher claiming two seats for his party because of its electoral success. In a vote in the Federal Assembly at the end of the year, Adolf Ogi was appointed to succeed Ruth Dreifuss as head of state in 2000.

Only after severe pressure from American politicians and Jewish organizations did the Swiss banks agree in the autumn on a settlement that would pay the equivalent of SEK 10 billion in damages to the victims of the Holocaust. Those entitled to claim money must have lost assets in Swiss banks during the Holocaust, have worked in slave labor in Swiss-affiliated companies, or have refused entry to Switzerland when attempting to flee the German persecution of Jews. The application period for receiving compensation expired on December last. Christoph Blocher claimed that the Jewish organizations' threat of boycotting Swiss banks if they did not agree to pay compensation was no better than the German persecution of Jews during World War II.

In the summer, the Swiss government ordered the country's banks to block Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević's assets after he was indicted for war crimes at the United Nations War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. In September, Swiss lawyer Carla del Ponte took up the post of prosecutor at the General Court following Louise Arbor.

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