National Councilor Gabriela Suter: Why she is now supporting the F-35



“No, I’m not a flag in the wind” – why Gabriela Suter is suddenly for the F-35 fighter jets

Gabriela Suter (SP) was the only leftist in the National Council to vote for the purchase of fighter jets. The Aargau candidate for the Council of States explains why and defends herself against the accusation of being a wind vane.

The SP faction in the National Council vehemently opposes the purchase of the F-35. Accordingly, last week she consistently voted against the procurement of fighter jets in various votes. Only one gave up: Gabriela Suter. She voted for it. What are the motives behind it?

National Councilor Gabriela Suter last week in the Federal Palace. Here as a listener in the Council of States.

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In the GfS security ranking, which measures the commitment of national councilors to security issues, you only come in 150th. Does that surprise you?

Gabriela Suter: The ranking uses a restricted security term. Neither peacebuilding nor climate protection nor development cooperation are taken into account. The amount of the army budget says little about how the country’s overall security is being promoted.

But there are also links placed in front of you.

We’re all very close. Those who are still members of the parliamentary group on security are placed a little higher up. This shows that this ranking should not be overestimated.

If the votes from this session had also been taken into account, it would probably have catapulted you up the rankings. You were the only one in the SP to vote for the purchase of a fighter jet. Why?

First, for democratic reasons. Voters made a fundamental decision in 2020 and said yes to new fighter jets, albeit narrowly. I respect the referendum. Conversely, I expect the same for the vote on the Energy Strategy 2050, which the people approved in 2017 and which is now being torpedoed by the right.

Are you also in terms of content now for the purchase of a fighter jet?

Yes, I have now also voted to buy the F-35 for security reasons. I never imagined that there could ever again be a conventional war of aggression in Europe, with long-term security consequences across the continent.

In 2020 you still fought the fighter jet proposal, arguing that such spending was irresponsible because of the economic crisis that triggered the pandemic. Was that short-sighted?

In hindsight maybe. With the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, the security situation in Europe has changed significantly compared to 2020. Sometimes you have to reconsider your own positions, even if you have been convinced of them for a long time.

Do you also emphasize your new position with fighter jets in order to signal to middle-class voters in view of the elections to the Council of States: “I can also be elected for you”?

I have to smile. Ever since I was nominated for the Council of States, I’ve heard it said several times that I’d only do something “for the election campaign”. Most recently at the weekend when I was collecting signatures for the day-care center initiative in Aarau. But my answer is clear: no. I’m not a flag in the wind, I have my own opinion and I’m not afraid to represent it. Even if it deviates from the party line – like now with the fighter jet question.