Geri Müller, a 53-year-old federal MP and member of the Green party, stepped down temporarily from his position as mayor of the town of Baden on Monday following revelations about the selfies in the media on Sunday.
In a press conference in Zurich that was transmitted on the internet by several media outlets, Müller explained that he sent the selfies to a 33-year-old woman with whom he had a “virtual relationship”.
The relationship started through an exchange of “erotic fantasies” via sms but Müller said she was never his lover.
He said he never met the woman until the exchange became a “problem”.
Müller said he decided to put an end to the virtual relationship after five months, when the woman became obsessed and started sending 30 sms a day.
But then she “threatened to do something bad and contact the media”.
Müller’s lawyer Andreas Meili contacted the police last Thursday after the woman, a resident of Bienne in the canton of Bern, further threatened to commit suicide.
Police searched her home the same day, Meili told the press conference.
Excerpts of the “lewd” messages sent by Müller to the woman surfaced in a report by the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, along with the revelations that the politician had sent nude selfies to her.
Müller said he was “ashamed” after the report was published.
But he said the virtual affair never affected his work.
Müller said that he often worked at his office from 5am until late at night so it was difficult to say what was private time and what was public.
He admitted to being naive and behaving stupidly.
The politician’s lawyer said Müller had not done anything legally wrong.
But Müller is facing pressure from his party to step down.
The Baden city council on Monday said Müller agreed to step aside so that he could be “given the time to fully concentrate on clarifying the situation”.
Müller’s selfies scandal comes after a Swiss federal parliament secretary recently sparked controversy by posting naked photos of herself on her Twitter account after posing for the photos in her Bern office.
The woman, who has also made amateur porn movies, was suspended pending an investigation although she maintains the postings were part of her private life and do not conflict with her job.