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In Switzerland, Politics Can Really Get Your Goat

Political party s mascot has been on quite the adventure


He s suffered the trauma of abduction, been the subject of a propaganda war and painted black, but Zottel the Swiss goat is finally back where he belongs.

Just days before a parliamentary election, the missing mascot of the right-wing Swiss People s Party (SVP) was found painted black alongside another goat and tied to a tree in a village near Zurich.

The SVP, which spearheaded a campaign to ban the construction of minarets in Swiss cities, was expected to strengthen its position as Switzerland s biggest party at a parliamentary election on Oct. 23.

In 2007 the SVP scooped 28.9 per cent of the vote after a provocative campaign where it depicted foreigners convicted of committing crimes as black sheep who should be kicked out of the country.

The 10-year-old Zottel, who has been used as a mascot at campaign events for the last five years, was snatched from his stall in the early hours of Oct. 15.

A radical left-wing group known as Antifaschistische Aktion has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in an online statement, but Zottel s owner and SVP lawmaker Ernst Schibli told Reuters he was still not sure who was behind the abduction.

At the moment he and his friend Mimo are a bit in shock, but mostly exhausted and probably happy that they re home.


A billy goat named Zottel the mascot for the Swiss People s Party was kid napped shortly before the country s Oct. 23 parliamentary elections, but returned unharmed.REUTERS/Andreas Meier



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