The news briefly overshadowed all Corona case numbers on the news portals: On Friday, the “Aargauer Zeitung” revealed that old Federal Councilor Christoph Blocher (79) is entitled to the Federal Council pension – the pension that government members are entitled to after four years in office and that it is should allow them to maintain the previous standard of living.
However, entrepreneur Blocher – whose family is one of the richest in Switzerland with assets worth billions – not only claimed the monthly pension, which amounts to around CHF 20,000. He also retrospectively asked for the payment of the money he had not previously drawn: a total of around CHF 2.7 million.
That frowns even in his own party, as one member said at the back of his hand: “The party base has absolutely no understanding for this demand.” After all, Blocher had previously stressed at every opportunity that – unlike the other old Federal Councilors – he would not receive any money from tax funds. With his demand, Blocher is also in contradiction to the values for which the SVP stands: not to receive any benefits from the state unless this is absolutely necessary. “This leads to damage to the image,” says the party member.
Blocher’s motives unknown
SVP National Councilor Barbara Steinemann (44, ZH) is also “astonished” by the fact that Blocher subsequently asked for his pension at this point in time. “Right now, when the state is spending so much money and we have to get important votes in 90 days,” says Steinemann, referring to the corona debt and the limitation initiative that will be put to the poll on September 27. However, the National Councilor added: “To be fair, I have to say: I don’t know Mr. Blocher’s motives.”
They are still in the dark. Although media reports suggest that the old Federal Council, despite its immense assets, lacks cash to pay its annual wealth taxes.
The question remains, how is it possible that an old Federal Council, regardless of the millions in its account, is even entitled to state funds? The reason for this lies in the wording of the relevant regulation: it stipulates that the Federal Council pension is reduced if the income exceeds a certain threshold. However, the regulation only refers to “earned or replacement income”. In other words, anyone who is a billionaire and lives on their dividends does not fall under it.