Swiss in Turmoil as Power Sharing Collapses

Rift after 50 years of consensus rule
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 11:09 AM CST
Switzerland's newly elected federal councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf of Switzerland's People's Party SVP is sworn in, after she accepted her nomination to the cabinet, where she replaces rightwing Peoples'...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After 49 years, Switzerland’s cozy form of consensus government collapsed today, when the right-wing People’s Party went into opposition, angered by the ejection of one of its members from the cabinet. “You have forced us to go into opposition, destroyed our treasured system of government and sacrificed your sworn interest in concordance, collegiality and tolerance,” the party’s head raged.

The Swiss system had heretofore been based on power sharing among all four parties, Reuters explains. That changed when Christoph Blocher was ousted in favor of a more moderate rival in his own People's Party, notorious for its anti-immigrant campaign that portrayed three white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag. Expect Swiss politics to be more volatile, Reuters says, as the party campaigns openly against government initiatives.