Swiss MPs Eject Populist Leader

Surprise move blocks Blocher from cabinet post
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2007 10:59 AM CST
Swiss Federal Councillor Christoph Blocher, centre, waves to an acquaintance during the re-elections of the Federal Council in the National Assembly in Bern, Switzerland, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2007. Nationalist...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Cristoph Blocher, the controversial head of Switzerland's People's Party, has been ejected from cabinet in an unexpected move that could end 50 years of consensus politics. The populist leader was slated for reelection as justice minister, Bloomberg reports, but a surprise deal by the three other parties voted in another People's Party member who didn't seek nomination. MPs broke into applause after the vote.

Blocher's ejection is a watershed in Swiss politics; the so-called "magic formula" has kept the composition of cabinet largely the same since 1959. Now the People's Party is threatening to go into opposition despite being the largest party in parliament. The unwitting justice minister-elect has not yet announced whether she will accept the position.