Wallis adjusts rules for gifts
No more free skiing for politicians!
Valais politicians come to the slopes with big discounts or even for free. The outrage when this became known was huge. And will soon be a thing of the past.
With the “Snowpass Limited”, politicians can travel almost anywhere in Valais for free, for example here in Leukerbad.
The Valais government members and parliamentarians, who benefit from cheap ski subscriptions, should really enjoy it this winter. Because after this season it will be over!
The Valais government has adjusted the rules for accepting gifts, invitations and other benefits. It is now stipulated that the members of the Council of State and the State Chancellor may only accept gifts and other benefits in the exercise of their office “if they correspond to social customs, are of minor importance and are appropriate”, i.e. a maximum value of 300 francs to have.
100 instead of 1575 francs
The recently well-known practice of various members of the government and parliamentarians using ski passes that were offered to them free of charge or at a heavily discounted price is no longer compatible with the new rules. The French-speaking Swiss radio and television RTS first reported that the Valais mountain railways were offering the Valais parliamentarians elected in Bern and the state councilors a general subscription for CHF 100 instead of CHF 1,575. And many grateful access.
Not for long: In the case of gifts and other benefits that exceed this value but cannot be refused for “reasons of courtesy or for reasons related to the office”, the members of the government are “obligated to contact the regional council directly”.
Politicians must ask permission
This concerns, for example, a gift presented during a diplomatic meeting that symbolizes the friendship between two regions, as explained by François Charvoz, Deputy Secretary General and responsible for communications at the Department of Finance and Energy.
Charvoz continues: “If this offer is extended by the mountain railway companies next winter, the regional council must make a proposal that could be a rejection, an acceptance or something else. The Council of State will then decide.”
Invitations are also regulated
The Presidency then proposes to the Council of State the use or acceptance of the benefit: if it is a painting, it could be donated to a museum, foundation or association, or exhibited in a state building.
When it comes to handling invitations, the guidelines state that these may only be accepted if they are of an official nature or are related to the function and the event “takes place within an appropriate framework”. Accepting gifts of money, regardless of value or circumstances, is prohibited. (SDA/sf)