Swiss anti-immigration lawmaker Christoph Blocher resigns, vows to fight EU membership

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GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss billionaire lawmaker behind the nation's recent anti-immigration vote is leaving parliament to concentrate on ensuring that Switzerland never joins the European Union.

Christoph Blocher, a former justice minister, says he will remain as vice president of the nationalist Swiss People's Party, which sponsored the anti-immigration referendum.

Switzerland has suffered a backlash from the EU since narrowly passing the referendum Feb. 9 seeking to cap immigration which goes against EU-Switzerland free movement treaties.

Blocher said in a statement Friday that "the main threat to Switzerland consists of the planned institutional linking of Switzerland and the EU" and that he "must therefore concentrate my political efforts on preventing EU membership."

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