Rival party leader calls SVP a 'sect of morons'
Christophe Darbellay, leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP), has come under fire after describing the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) as “a sect of morons”.
The 40-year old Darbellay questioned the collective intelligence of the SVP during his speech at the launch of the CVP Unterwallis election party campaign on August 23rd.
He later tried to distance himself from the comment. When local television station Canal 9 questioned Darbellay about his portrayal of the rival party, the politician initially denied everything, accusing the journalists of "not paying attention" and twisting his words to take a “journalistic shortcut”.
Canal 9 reported the incident a week later in its programme “Le journal décalé”.
It was only when the television station showed Darbellay the video evidence that the CVP president admitted his comment.
“I described the SVP as a sect because they do not function like a normal political party,” Darbellay explained to 20 Minuten.
In an interview with Le Temps newspaper, he said that the word "sect" referred to:
“The attitude of the SVP, their refusal to compromise, their dogmatism and their contempt for those who think differently.”
As for the "morons" label:
"When I say 'morons', I am alluding to certain political measures of the SVP," Darbellay told Canal 9.
SVP president Tony Brunner told 20 Minuten he does not take Darbellay’s name-calling too seriously:
“Such comments backfire sooner or later on those who make them.”
Darbellay later excused himself in “Le Temps” newspaper, claiming the comment was made in the heat of the moment.
Darbellay previously irked the SVP shortly after being elected CVP president in September 2006 when he challenged Justice Minister Christophe Blocher's reappointment to the cabinet.