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Attorney General Michael Lauber has lost his political backing.

16.09.2020 – Marc Lettau

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Attorney General of Switzerland Michael Lauber stands down

Amid growing political pressure, Switzerland’s chief prosecutor, Attorney General Michael Lauber has resigned and is due to leave his post at the end of the year. Lauber has been accused of serious misconduct, having had a secret meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino despite the fact that he was investigating football’s governing body at the time. Lauber’s resignation is not the end of the matter. Impeachment proceedings against the Attorney General are still ongoing, while Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Infantino in July.

More emigration than immigration

Immigration from the EU is a major issue in Swiss politics. However, emigration from Switzerland outstripped immigration from abroad in the second quarter of 2020. There are two main reasons for this: the relative deterioration of the Swiss economy, and restrictions on people entering the country due to the pandemic.

Crypto – federal prosecutors open criminal probe

For decades, Swiss company Crypto AG manufactured encryption devices that helped foreign intelligence services to snoop on other countries (see “Swiss Review” 3/2020). By allowing the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland to investigate, the Federal Council has now paved the way for criminal proceedings. The government can block any criminal proceedings that it believes would seriously jeopardise Switzerland’s interests. Evidently, it has concluded that investigating Crypto poses no such threat.

Crypto – successor company in trouble

Crypto AG has been defunct for years. Now successor company Crypto International AG (based in Zug) is also in trouble, having had to lay off 80 of its 82 staff this summer. This is mainly because Crypto International is currently banned from exporting its encryption devices.

COVID-19 scuppers popular initiative

The “e-voting moratorium” popular initiative is now off the agenda. Its supporters have abandoned their attempt to collect the necessary signatures. According to the initiative committee, which includes the National Councillors Franz Grüter (SVP) and Balthasar Glättli (Greens), collecting 100,000 signatures in time was looking increasingly impossible. Social distancing and hygiene measures had complicated the exercise.

COVID app prompts referendum

Over a million people already use the official Swiss coronavirus contact-tracing SwissCovid app. However, a committee of objectors in French-speaking Switzerland have now called for a referendum, claiming that the tracing app is undemocratic. They say that the app is a step towards “digital dictatorship”. The committee must collect 50,000 signatures by 8 October 2020 in order for any vote on the app to take place.

No Geneva International Motor Show in 2021 either

Switzerland’s biggest public event, the Geneva International Motor Show, had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The organisers have now decided to call off the 2021 edition too. Analysts say that this shows how hard the automotive sector has been hit.