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Switzerland

Swiss Politicians Let It All Hang Out

The head of Switzerland’s FDP-Frauen party is baring more than her soul in an effort to promote women’s rights. Some of Switzerland’s male politicians have make similarly revealing pitches.

Claudine Esseiva in her campaign
Claudine Esseiva in her campaign

A new trend has the nation's legislators baring it all to focus public attention on their -- causes.

The FDP-Frauen, the Swiss women's liberal party, has gotten its national election campaign off to a high profile start with a revealing image of its 30-something general secretary, Claudine Esseiva. In the photo the party head appears topless -- albeit shielded by a modesty-preserving slogan that reads ‘"No More Toplessness.""

The reference is to one of the party's major campaign platforms: more women in the higher echelons of both the private and public sectors.

Swiss women, in person-on-the-street interviews, found the ad "not immediately obvious – you had to think about it" or "more about sex than supporting the cause of women,"" although a male student said he thought it got its intended message across.

Zurich-based communications consultant Klaus J. Stöhlker disagrees. Stöhlker called the slogan ‘"too intellectual, convoluted,"" and said the message lacks substance. It was not, however, completely surprising, according to the consultant.

"In Switzerland today, erotic capital is being used with a lot more awareness than it was 20 years ago," he said. "Society is getting more and more sexualized, with middle-class values disappearing largely because of tough economic and political competition. People want to get noticed."

Young male politicians for both the Green and conservative SVP parties have also experimented with this kind of "bare it all" approach -- Xavier Schwitzguébel of the SVP quite dramatically so, his privates shielded only by an assault rifle, to mark his stance against a weapons initiative.

Read the original stories here and here in German

Photo - FDP-Frauen

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Geopolitics

It's Not About Mussolini, Searching For The Real Giorgia Meloni

As the right-wing coalition tops Italian elections, far-right leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is set to become Italy's next prime minister. Both her autobiography and the just concluded campaign help fill in the holes in someone whose roots are in Italy's post-fascist political parties.

Giorgia Meloni at a political rally in Palermo on Sept. 20.

Alessandro Calvi

-Analysis-

ROME — After Sunday’s national election results, Italy is set to have its first ever woman prime minister. But Giorgia Meloni has been drawing extra attention both inside and outside of the country because of her ideology, not her gender.

Her far-right pedigree in a country that invented fascism a century ago has had commentators rummaging through the past of Meloni and her colleagues in the Brothers of Italy party in search of references to Benito Mussolini.

But even as her victory speech spoke of uniting the country, it is far more useful to listen to what she herself has said since entering politics to understand the vision the 45-year-old lifelong politician has for Italy’s future.

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