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'Shadow government' playing key role in Swiss politics: report

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'Shadow government' playing key role in Swiss politics: report
The Swiss Federal Palace in Bern. Photo: Depositphotos
08:45 CEST+02:00
A small band of politicians is setting the tone in Swiss federal politics, operating as a type of shadow government, according to Zurich's prestigious NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

Under Switzerland's unique political system, the official government comprises a seven-member federal council, with each federal councillor head of one of the government's departments or ministries.

All of the country's major political parties are represented on the federal council.

Read also: Ten things you need to know about the Swiss political system

But a group of parliamentarians formed over the last few years is playing an increasingly important role in the Swiss system and even taking on roles that are traditionally the purview of the Federal Council, according to the NZZ am Sonntag.

A new project unveiled last week aimed reforming company tax and restructuring Switzerland's compulsory retirement insurance program (AHV/AVS) was the work of this group, according to the paper.

The so-called shadow government is said to include six members of the upper house of the Swiss parliament, the Council of States. Three parties are represented.

The group's members from the Socialist Party (SP) are said to be SP President Christian Levrat, and the unionist Paul Rechsteiner.

The FDP Switzerland representatives are cited as being the current president of the Council of States, Karin Keller-Sutter, and Ruedi Noser (FDP).

Two Christian Democrats (CVP) are also said to form part of the group: Konrad Graber and Pirmin Bischof.

However, the right-wing, conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP), which was the most-voted party in Switzerland's 2015 elections and holds 65 seats in the 200-seat lower house of parliament but only five of the 46 seats in the upper house, is not represented in the group, according to the NZZ am Sonntag.

This is why the SVP is struggling to push through its projects and agenda, according to the newspaper.

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