• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Christoph Blocher quits ‘bureaucratic’ parliament

Morven McLean · 9 May 2014, 14:39

Published: 09 May 2014 14:39 GMT+02:00

The former cabinet minister made the surprise announcement of his resignation from the National Council on his internet portal Teleblocher.ch.

The pugnacious politician said he was “wasting too much time in parliament” and wanted to use his time differently.

“Today I am announcing my resignation as of May 31st,” Blocher said in a televised statement, adding that he had written to SVP president Toni Brunner telling him of his intentions.

Blocher – a billionaire businessman – said the National Council had become very bureaucratic.

He added that he wanted to redefine his political priorities and focus on referendums, notably implementation of the initiative against mass immigration approved by the people on February 9th, and a planned initiative on preventing Switzerland joining the European Union.

"To be able to concentrate on these two most important projects, everything that is secondary has to be set aside," he said.

The trained lawyer said he would continue as vice-president of the SVP.

The right-wing politician served a first term in parliament from 1979 to 2003 and served in the cabinet as justice minister from 2003 until 2007 when he failed to win re-election.

Story continues below…

Blocher returned to parliament in 2011, but is frequently absent from the chamber, according to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper online. It quoted a Politnetz survey, according to which Blocher has missed 36 percent of all votes.

The Blick tabloid said SVP president Ueli Maurer appeared taken aback by Blocher’s announcement.

Speaking in Bern, Maurer described the party’s leading light as “the most outstanding politician of recent decades”. 

Morven McLean (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Zurich prison guard 'helped Syrian flee jail'
Pictures released by Zurich police of the prison guard and the escapee. Photos: Zurich cantonal police

Zurich prison guard 'helped Syrian flee jail'
1 hour ago

Swiss police have launched a manhunt for a Syrian man convicted of rape, after he fled his cell along with a female prison guard.

Two people dead and one officer wounded in Geneva
Photo: Geneva cantonal police

Two people dead and one officer wounded in Geneva
9 hours ago

UPDATED: Two people died from gunshots and one police officer was wounded in a shootout in Geneva early Tuesday, justice officials say.

Jobless rate rises for fourth month in a row
Photo: Canton of Vaud

Jobless rate rises for fourth month in a row
11 hours ago

The official Swiss unemployment rate rose in January for the fourth consecutive month, driven by an increase in foreigners out of work.

Del Ponte backs Russian intervention in Syria
Photo: Devra Berkowiz/UN/File

Del Ponte backs Russian intervention in Syria
22 hours ago

Former war crimes prosecutor and Swiss lawyer Carla Del Ponte, who is currently probing rights abuses in Syria, has backed Russia's air strikes on "terrorist groups" in the war-torn country.

Storm winds expected again in parts of Switzerland
Two people were injured after this sign blew over in Paris. Photo: Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris

Storm winds expected again in parts of Switzerland
23 hours ago

Weather forecasters expect gale-force winds in Western Switzerland for a second day on Tuesday after storm Ruzica swept across northern Europe.

One in four Swiss residents smoke: report
Photo: AFP

One in four Swiss residents smoke: report
1 day ago

The share of tobacco smokers remains stubbornly high in Switzerland, with one in four residents lighting up, says Addiction Switzerland.

Former French minister goes on trial for tax fraud
Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac. Photo: AFP

Former French minister goes on trial for tax fraud
1 day ago

Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, who resigned in disgrace in 2013 after admitting to having a secret Swiss bank account, goes on trial on Monday for tax fraud.

Beyoncé includes Zurich date on world tour
Beyoncé at Super Bowl 50. Photo: Matt Cowan/Getty Images North America/AFP

Beyoncé includes Zurich date on world tour
1 day ago

American singer and songwriter Beyoncé is planning to appear in Zurich this summer as part of a world tour announced at the end of her Super Bowl half time show on Sunday.

Diver dies in Lake Geneva near shipwreck
Photo: AFP/File

Diver dies in Lake Geneva near shipwreck
1 day ago

A 44-year-old diver from the canton of Vaud died after plunging into Lake Geneva near the site of a shipwreck from the 19th century, police say.

Hingis and Bencic propel Swiss into Fed Cup semifinals
Swiss FedCup tennis team captain Heinz Günthardt takes selfie with (from left) Bencic, Bacsinszky, Viktorija Golubic and Hingis. Photo: DPA/AFP

Hingis and Bencic propel Swiss into Fed Cup semifinals
2 days ago

Martina Hingis rolled back the years on Sunday as her doubles win alongside Belinda Bencic sealed a 3-2 victory over Germany to put Switzerland in the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time since 1998.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
'World's best chef' commits suicide in village near Lausanne
Features
Zurich celebrates centennial of quirky Dada artistic movement
Education
Children in village school told to speak German or pay 'penalty'
Features
Swiss provide multiple resources to support 'sexy' startup trend
National
Swiss citizens to vote this summer on guaranteed income for all
Culture
Geneva authorities back art museum expansion with Jean Nouvel design
National
Luxury hotel conversion in Vevey runs into financial trouble
National
World Economic Forum: Davos soldiers test positive for cocaine use
Switzerland had secret 'peace deal' with PLO to prevent attacks
Technology
VIDEO: Drone takes you to the heart of a Swiss glacier
Business & Money
Leonardo DiCaprio in Davos slams 'greed' of fossil-fuel industry
National
Miniature scale model of city of Geneva goes on public display
International
Politician and ex-head of Swiss Post among dead in Burkina Faso attack
National
Revealed: Swiss authorities strip refugees of cash and valuables
National
Spectacular video of avalanche near Zermatt illustrates dangers
Business & Money
GE announces plans to slash 1,300 Swiss jobs at Alstom plants
Sport
Fifa museum set to open in Zurich next month as scandal continues
National
Is climate change ruining skiing at resorts in the Swiss Alps?
Culture
Bowie's discreet two decades in Switzerland remembered
National
Switzerland's unemployment rate surges to highest level in five years
National
'Excellent' Swiss wine touted for 2015 vintages despite lower production
National
Medieval Swiss lakeside town plans 'spectacular' festival of lights
Technology
Zurich and Lausanne institutes of technology launch 43 startups
4,493
jobs available