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Zug party president quits over sex scandal

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Zug party president quits over sex scandal
Swiss People's Party cantonal MP Markus Hürlimann. Photo: Canton of Zug
21:31 CET+01:00
Markus Hürlimann has stepped down as the president of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) in the canton of Zug following a sex scandal involving another politician, according to several reports.

Hürlimann, a member of the cantonal parliament, notified the party leadership by internal mail of his decision after a fellow MP, Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin co-president of the Green party, accused him of sexually abusing her in a case that has attracted national media attention.

The married man has denied the accusations, which are under investigation, while Spiess-Hegglin has refused to back down.

Hürlimann has affirmed regretting “bad behaviour on the ethical level” though he has contested the woman’s allegations, which date from a night of partying on December 21st to celebrate the election of SVP member Heinz Tännler as president of the Zug government.

The following day, Spiess-Hegglin said she had no memory of the end of the evening but, feeling pains in her lower abdomen, she checked into a hospital for tests, according to earlier reports.

The hospital alerted justice authorities, who opened an investigation.

Hürlimann said he could no longer provide the “necessary role model” of party leader, the Neue Zuger Zeitung newspaper reported online.

Still, he said he remained committed to his constituents and that voters should judge his work in four years’ time at the next elections, the report said.

At least one fellow party member believes that Hürlimann should have resigned his position as MP.

Willi Vollenweider, an SVP party member who sits both in the cantonal parliament and on the Zug city council, announced on Monday that he was resigning from the party.

Vollenweider said that the party leadership had thrown basic SVP values overboard by supporting Hürlimann, despite widespread reports of the sexual escapade, the exact circumstances of which have not been fully explained.

In his opinion, the party leadership should apologize for the “flagrant and undisputed misconduct of their former party president”, the Neue Zuger Zeitung said.

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