‘It’s the new Reformation’ – Swiss MP compares rise of populism to historical rebellions

Posted on Sep 29 2018 - 1:43am by admin

Roger Köppel of the Swiss People’s Party told BBC Newsnight he sees European populism in the context of historical rebellions against centralised powers.

He said: “I would say what’s happening now reminds me of the Reformation in the 16th Century.

“In those times we had an international Vatican which was considered to misuse its power, to misuse the money of the people, to misuse also his spiritual mission.”

Switzerland is not in the European Union, but some in the country see its position in Europe as being one that means it has to abide by its laws.

The Swiss People’s Party is a right-wing populist party characterised by Euroscepticism and opposition to mass immigration.

Mr Köppel likened their objectives to reformers of the past, saying: “All these reformers came up all over the place.

“Some of them were completely nuts, but some of them were intelligent, sensitive people like Mr Calvin, Mr Zwingli, Mr Luther – and the movement was real.

“I think we see a similar development now in Europe that many, many people just think the direction of politics in the last 10-15 years is wrong and they have not been asked about this direction.”

Mr Köppel also made a reference to William Tell, a Swiss folk hero who assassinated a tyrant.

Mr Köppel said: “William tell symbolises the spirit of resistance against foreign laws and against foreign rule, but of course we would never even in the darkest moments consider to shoot at Jean-Claude Juncker with our crossbows.”

Mr Köppel invited Mr Bannon to Switzerland to aid his efforts of uniting the Right in Europe.

He joked: “Earlier this year, I invited the devil himself to Switzerland, which is Steve Bannon.”

Mr Bannon praised the “direct democracy” in Switzerland, whereby citizens have several referendums a year.

He said: “Not every place can run like Switzerland. Direct democracy is extraordinary.

“You are the most free and the most prosperous nation in Europe.”

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