Swiss watchdog urges non-racist elections
Swiss anti-racism authorities called Wednesday on political parties to refrain from campaigning on racist platforms in the upcoming October legislative election.
The head of the independent federal commission against racism Georg Kreis told AFP that Swiss elections were usually periods of racist and xenophobic agitation.
"There is a certain seduction during elections to use xenophobia or defamation as a political tool," he said.
Switzerland's biggest political party, the far-right Swiss People's Party has consistently sparked controversy over its campaigns.
In October 2010, it triggered a trans-border spat after it branded French commuters as "scum" in regional elections.
But the party, which recently launched a campaign to limit immigration, is most notorious for its signature poster depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag.
Kreis would not offer specific examples of racist or xenophobic campaigning "for obvious reasons.
"We do not want to get involved in party politics," he said.
"But it is very clear who we are talking about," Kreis added.
The Swiss People's Party, which already holds around a quarter of the seats in the federal assembly, is expected to make further gains during the legislative elections this fall.
© 2011 AFP