Blocher--controversial Federal Councillor: on December 10, 2003, the two Houses of Representatives elected Christoph Blocher of the People's Party of Switzerland as Federal Councillor. In the following interview, he details his views and future plans.

Author:Heddema, Renske

The election results have appeared. Among other changes, one of the decisions that were most likely to create ripples in the so-called 'magic formula' has been made. Controversial Christoph Blocher is now part of the Federal Council. Swiss News finds out more.

Swiss News: An entrepreneur and a multibillionaire, why did you choose to go into politics?

Christoph Blocher: I just did what needed to be done. I started by protesting against a new regulation in lily community and, subsequently, became a member of the Swiss People's Party. When I succeeded in mobilising a few others, my party urged me to become a member of the City Council.

I am an intuitive person. That's also how I became an entrepreneur. I was working as a lawyer at the firm, which now belongs to me. I didn't know anything about the hnsiness world. It just seemed to be a fight step at the right time. When I entered the SVP Zurich, it was a small party in a crisis. I felt attracted to the liberal-conservative ideology of this traditional farmers' party.

Are you a populist? Someone who manipulates the people?

No. In my view, a populist is someone who says what people want him to say. He always says what the people like to hear ... one thing through one year, and another in the next.

However, you can check my policy and see that it has been consistent over the years. I try to explain to the people why I think we should do certain things. I do not ask them whether they agree or not.

Yet you appeal with simple images, speeches and suggestive billboards to a part of the electorate that wants to keep Switzerland Wee from foreigners.

These are voters you cannot stop at the door. Those who have voted for us because of our restrictive asylum policy and who may have a certain aversion against foreigners will not stay loyal to the party. They may have voted for us, but they are not part of our constituency. Moreover, I do not say 'all foreigners out'. We want to discuss digressions and abuse of the asylum laws.

Because of your aggressive asylum policy, you have been compared to conservative right wing politicians such as Juerg Haider in Austria and Jean Made Le Pen in France.

I do not know them personally; I have to refer to what the papers say about them. It seems clear to me that when they address real problems that a lot of people are dealing with, they get voters on their side. However, their parties do not have a complete and coherent political program; they have too little vision on...

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