‘Our party is against free immigration, and so are the Swiss people’

A man walks past election campaign posters of the Swiss People's Party (SVP) at the main train station in Zurich, Switzerland October 12, 2015. © Arnd Wiegmann
I think it is irresponsible if a government just opens the border totally and says, regardless of how many come: ‘We will accept them.’ That is irresponsible, said Luzi Stamm, of the Swiss People's Party, following its parliamentary victory.

In Switzerland, the anti-immigration Swiss People's Party (SVP) won a third of seats in parliamentary elections on Sunday, capitalizing on the public’s fear of migrants flooding the European Union from the Middle East and Africa.

RT:  The polls predicted your success. Why do you think so many voters swung your way?

Luzi Stamm: I think that it is the immigration problem. Our party is still the only one in Switzerland who is for controlling the borders, against the free immigration, against the free movement of persons. And I think the voters - the Swiss public - they are in favor of this.

RT:  Switzerland has been relatively unaffected by the refugee crisis. So why is there an anti-immigrant sentiment in your country?

LS: Oh, we have a problem as much as any other European country has. We have some African countries where the immigration has increased tremendously. The population feels this. And the population reacts faster than the politicians do.

Refugees follow Swiss Army personnel who are building tents outside a refugee camp in Lyss, Switzerland, September 2, 2015. © Ruben Sprich

RT:  Right-wing parties have been gaining popularity across Europe in recent years even before the massive flow of refugees. Why do you think that is?

LS: I think it is not only right wing. And these definitions of right and left they are making problems – you saw this in the example of Greece. I think it is also left voters who are afraid of the immigration, people who feel that it is a problem of wealth and their income being lowered? The immigration is dangerous for everybody if it is uncontrollable.

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RT:There's also been a surge of anti-immigration rallies and hate crimes. Is there a fear that this swing to the right could be hijacked by radicals?

LS: That is always in any political system. And if the leaders of a country make too many mistakes, if people get too dissatisfied, they are going to go on the streets regardless of what system you have. And the Swiss system so far with the direct democracy was and is a system where the solutions can be fair, relatively fast and good. And if you look at Germany you can see that Angela Merkel made mistakes. And now you have to be afraid that the public gets on the streets.

RT:  What do you say to the people who came from terrible backgrounds and circumstances – “No, don’t come in”? What is your message?

LS: It is not just anti-immigration. But there are a lot of sides to the problem: it is religion; it is the ‘mass’ – the number of people who are coming. I think it is irresponsible if a government just opens the border totally and says, regardless of how many come, ‘We will accept them.’ That is irresponsible. We have to find - the Western countries, also Russia and every civilized country – some kind of control how and who to let in and where you say no. Our countries have to learn this again.


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