Personal statement concerning my candidature for a seat on the Swiss Federal Council

7 November 2003

In the elections held on 19 October 2003 the Swiss voters gave a clear signal: many of them want political change in Bern, because they do not want politicians and political parties to arrogantly formulate and pursue policies that fail to take their needs and wishes into due account!

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) now holds more than one quarter of all seats in the National Council. The Christian Democrats (CVP) were the principal losers in the recent elections, although the Radical Democrats (FDP) – formerly positioned further to the centre – also lost seats to the SVP. The principle of arithmetical concordance hence requires that the Christian Democrats – the party that recorded the lowest result at the federal elections on 19 October – vacate one of its two seats on the Federal Council to give the People’s Party the second seat it is entitled to. The SVP will thus be able to assume executive responsibility pursuant to the will of the Swiss voters as expressed in the elections on 19 October. The SVP has nominated me as candidate for a seat on the Federal Council.

I wish to accept this responsibility, and I am prepared to work within the government for a free and independent Switzerland, according to the wishes of the electorate. As a member of the liberal-conservative SVP I will also make every effort as a member of the Federal Council to ensure that our country does not become an omnipotent state of administrators that follow the dictates emanating from Brussels! I will make every effort to ensure that our money is not spent indiscriminately, that restraint is applied in this field.

This is also why we must rethink our policies in respect of asylum seekers: 95% of all asylum seekers could build a future for themselves in their home countries. They would be in no personal danger there. Switzerland cannot and should not continue to accept more and more economic refugees who subsequently exploit our social facilities. We cannot continue to stand aside and watch while our social spending, health care costs and administrative expenditure increases to a level at which very little remains for those in need of help in our own country! I will do my utmost to restore a measure of rationality to our asylum policies, and to ensure that the future of our social institutions is secured on behalf of our own population.

The core institution of our welfare state is its old-age social security scheme. It must be stabilised before the state and the economy are required to bear new social burdens. The old and the infirm should be able to live out their lives without undue anxiety.

The SVP believes in the strength and common sense of every Swiss citizen, that each individual can meet the demands of life with self-reliance and personal responsibility. The state should be there to provide assistance for those of us who are truly ill, infirm and in need of help.

These are the principles upon which I want to perform my duties towards the electorate. I will devote all my energy, my know-how and expertise as a successful businessman, and my many years of political experience on a communal, cantonal and national level, to making a constructive contribution for the benefit of our country.

Since 19 October, the day on which the Swiss People’s Party recorded a clear-cut election victory and SVP chairman Ueli Maurer announced my nomination as candidate for a seat on the Federal Council, I have been receiving up to one hundred e-mails daily. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the senders most warmly for their good wishes, questions and suggestions. Unfortunately, time pressures make it impossible for me to personally and comprehensively reply to all these people within an appropriate time frame. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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