SP averts psychodrama at the last minute

Another exemption instead of a titan duel: The SP faction leader Roger Nordmann has not yet been sent into political retirement. This required a subtle interpretation of the party statutes.

Two of the most influential parliamentarians in Bern: Roger Nordmann (left) and Pierre-Yves Maillard.

Valentin Flauraud / Keystone

It was a duel of giants, which ultimately wasn’t one: the SP parliamentary group leader Roger Nordmann and the President of the Federation of Trade Unions, Pierre-Yves Maillard, both wanted to be in the Council of States. The end of Nordmann’s political career seemed to be sealed. But at its party congress in Payerne, the SP Vaud found a way to avert the psychodrama at the last second.

The delegates accepted a proposal from the party leadership that would allow Nordmann to add another legislature to the National Council – in other words, the exception to the exception. The rest was formality: Maillard was appointed as the official candidate for the Council of States.

The background to the averted party crisis is Nordmann’s political longevity. The 49-year-old has been a member of the National Council since 2004. The statutes of the SP Vaud state that national parliamentarians may only serve four mandates – with the possibility of an extension. Nordmann had already made use of such an exemption before the last elections.

What does “one” mean exactly?

That’s the end of it – that’s what everyone thought. Nordmann also says it never occurred to him to ask the party base for another exemption from the old-age guillotine. It was the opposing candidate Maillard personally who finally came up with the “proposal of agreement” and thus clearly prevailed on Thursday evening on the board, as “Le Temps” reported. Nordmann agreed to withdraw from the Council of States race if the delegates made it possible for him to continue his candidacy for the National Council.

That this was possible at all required quite a subtlety: the terminology “a power of exception” in the party statutes was interpreted in such a way that this does not necessarily have to be a single exception, but that several are also permitted.

However, not all comrades agreed with this, as the lively discussion in the hall showed. A speaker recalled the SP slogan “For everyone, without privileges”, which means that another special regulation for a single politician, no matter how capable he is, is not legitimate. The votes testified to a generation gap – the young against, the older for the exception.

Tight result

The offspring almost prevailed. In the ballot, which was carried out secretly, 157 members voted for and 67 against the proposal. The necessary two-thirds majority was thus achieved, albeit narrowly. Nordmann can therefore run again for the National Council and thus continue to preside over the SP parliamentary group in the Federal Palace.

However, he must first be elected in autumn 2023, just like Pierre-Yves Maillard. In view of their previous election results, the two SP dinosaurs certainly have good cards in their hands.

More to come.

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