SVP agitators, SVP aggravators – and the dispute over Federal President Guy Parmelin

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“We give the greatest pleasure to the virus when we argue,” Federal President Guy Parmelin warned on Wednesday. It is “really, really important that we continue on this path together”.

Less than two hours later, Parmelin’s own party, the SVP, sharply criticized the Federal Council. It seems to have “completely lost touch with reality,” she lamented. Some SVP politicians have chosen clear words on Twitter. Group leader Thomas Aeschi, for example, accused the Federal Council of driving “Switzerland into poverty”.

SVP National Councilor Roger Köppel has targeted PS Federal Councilor and Minister of Health Alain Berset: “The superstar on Boulevard Berset is shutting down Switzerland because of” uncertainties “about the new mutation of the virus.” The decision was not taken by Berset, but by the entire Federal Council.

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The SVP’s aggravators

Unlike the first lockout, criticism of the Federal Council has been raining recently from various parties. That of the SVP is particularly fundamental and sharp. From the end of December, she called for the immediate opening of restaurants – and consequences for staff.

At the same time, ironically, the party has several cantonal health directors who grabbed national headlines with their tightening. Bernese Pierre Alain Schnegg, for example, was the first to ban major events in October.

Jean-Pierre Gallati from Aargau rushed with store closings before Christmas. In Zurich, Natalie Rickli, director of health, has made it known on several occasions that she is in favor of stricter measures. And Thurgau’s health director Urs Martin, also SVP, said on Thursday that he understood the recent decisions of the Federal Council.

But apart from SVP politicians in executive offices, the position of SVP leaders in the corona crisis appears to be broadly supported within the party – especially after the further tightening. Discussions with SVP politicians show that the attitude of the national party is supported in terms of content, only the lively tone is sometimes criticized.

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Pull the rope around the Federal President

Guy Parmelin therefore also comes into conflict. As Federal President, he must represent the position of the Federal Council – one which is strongly criticized by his party. But how did he position himself on Wednesday? The “Blick” reported that Parmelin changed sides overnight and spoke out in favor of the tightening. SVP parliamentary group leader Thomas Aeschi publicly contradicted on Twitter: Parmelin had fought the extension and tougher measures.

The Department of Parmelins does not wish to comment on this. In the Federal Council, the principle of collegiality applies: all members represent the decision taken in public – personal opinions must remain secret.

National Councilor SVP Aeschi suspects that false information is being deliberately disseminated in order to drive a wedge between Parmelin and Ueli Maurer. “The SVP’s federal advisers respect the principle of collegiality,” he says. “But if the information from the Federal Council meeting is released and I know firsthand that it is wrong, it is my duty as chairman of the parliamentary group to correct it.”

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The fact that only Maurer really resisted the tightening during the meeting is consistent with the information from the CH Media editorial team. According to reports, Parmelin spoke out ahead of time in a joint report against closing stores. It is still too early to tighten up, so his argument. At the meeting itself – which he chaired as Federal President – he no longer opposed it due to the majority situation.

Please want a special session

The SVP now relies on Parliament. On Thursday, Aeschi submitted a request to the health committee for a declaration calling an extraordinary session. According to Aeschi, the commission is expected to vote on Friday.

Criticism of Aeschi’s statement about Parmeline came quickly. CVP chairman Gerhard Pfister grabbed the keys: if Aeschi wanted to switch to a government / opposition model, he would have to say so, he decided.

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