Swiss Parliament Adds Two Women to Government
(Bloomberg) -- Swiss lawmakers elected Karin Keller-Sutter of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and Viola Amherd of the socially conservative Christian Democrats (CVP) to government, bringing the number of female ministers to three.
- Keller-Sutter and Amherd fill vacancies left by Infrastructure Minister Doris Leuthard, 55, and Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, 66, yet the departments might be reshuffled among the seven-member government in the coming days.
- The new ministers were elected in a secret ballot by Switzerland’s 246 strong parliament. It only took one round for both Amherd and Keller-Sutter to reach the absolute majority necessary to win a seat.
- Karin Keller-Sutter, 54, is a translator by training and represented the eastern canton of St. Gallen in the upper house of parliament for the past seven years. She made a name for herself as a vocal opponent to the latest attempt to reform the Swiss pension system and pushing through the corporate tax reform. She also serves on the supervisory board of insurer Baloise.
- Viola Amherd is a lawyer in Brig, Valais, a town in the mountains near Italy. She has been a member of the lower house of parliament for more than 13 years. The 56-year-old is known as an advocate for female politicians in the socially conservative CVP and for representing the interests of remote regions and mountainous areas in national politics.
- Keller-Sutter and Amherd are scheduled to take over from January 1st after Leuthard and Schneider-Ammann retire.
- The election is unlikely to prompt much political change as Switzerland’s government is consensus based and ministers don’t publicly dissent from the official line.
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