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Oct 19, 2011, 04.02 PM IST | Source: Reuters

In Switzerland, politics can really get your goat

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.

In Switzerland, politics can really get your goat

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, is expected to strengthen its position as Switzerland's biggest party at a parliamentary election on Sunday.

In 2007 the SVP scooped 28.9% 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 Saturday morning.

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."

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