'Racist' campaign pays off in Swiss poll

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The Independent Online

The right-wing Swiss People's Party won its best-ever showing in general elections yesterday after a virulent anti-foreigner campaign that was widely denounced as racist, but failed to obtain the landslide victory it had been hoping for.

The SVP, led by the controversial billionaire and Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher secured almost 29 per cent of the vote and an extra six seats in parliament, the first exit polls suggested last night.

Mr Blocher's campaign was dominated by the single issue of immigration. His party's election posters featured three white sheep standing on a red and white Swiss national flag kicking a black sheep out of the country. Alongside ran the slogan "more security!"

The notorious posters, which were part of the party's campaign to deport foreign criminal offenders and their families, were denounced as "openly racist" by the United Nations.

However the campaign appeared to have appealed to voters. Yesterday's elections saw the SVP consolidate its position as the largest party in the Swiss parliament, but its share of the vote increased by just two percentage points.

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