Schmid warns against political intolerance

Defence Minister Samuel Schmid says Swiss cabinet ministers face an increasing number of threats and need police protection.

This content was published on December 25, 2007 - 16:13

He said he deplored the erosion of a culture which is marked by political tolerance with people of different opinions.

Schmid added the threats had to be taken seriously and called on politicians not to fuel tensions – a statement seen as a hint at some members of his rightwing Swiss People's Party.

The new justice minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, was the latest target of death threats and hate mail after she accepted her election to the cabinet earlier this month.

She unseated the controversial Christoph Blocher – the strongman of the People's Party – prompting an apparent rift between radical and more moderate members of the party.

Observers have described the campaign to October's parliamentary elections as unusually divisive, culminating in clashes during a demonstration in the capital, Bern.

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