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Politician uses 'swastika' to slam foreign criminals plan

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Photo: (detail) Martin Landolt/Twitter
08:44 CET+01:00
The leader of a small federal party has unleashed a storm of protest by using an image transforming the cross of the Swiss flag into a swastika to criticize an initiative that calls for the expulsion of foreign criminals.

Martin Landolt, chairman of Switzerland's Conservative Democratic Party (BDP), used the image in a tweet to criticize the initiative of the Swiss People's Party (SVP), which aims to crack down on foreigners convicted of crimes by requiring their mandatory expulsion from the country.

Landolt's tweet, accompanied with the slogan “No to two classes of justice” calls on voters to reject the initiative, while making comparisons with Germany in 1933 (the year Hitler seized power) and South Africa in 1948 (a reference to apartheid).

Voters go to the polls on February 28th to decide on the initiative, which has been opposed by the federal government and both houses of parliament.

Although many politicians believe the SVP's proposal is xenophobic and counter-productive, Landolt's way of campaigning against it has raised eyebrows and some feel he went too far.

Christine Bussat, a former candidate for the BDP in last year's election, announced on Tuesday that she was quitting the party in disgust.

Bussat, from the canton of Vaud, lamented “this poster in bad taste (used by Landolt) is very stupid - I cannot accept it”, the ATS news agency reported.

She slammed her leader for having a “visceral hatred” of the SVP.

“It's a war against a party and not for ideas.”

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Landolt, a former member of the SVP from the canton of Glarus who joined dissidents to help form the breakaway Conservative Democratic Party, said this week that he was not seeking to provoke, ATS reported.

He said the swastika-type image underlined a crucial point about the initiative: that it would institute two classes of justice (one for Swiss citizens and another for foreigners). 

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