• Today
    July 07

  • 01:05 PM

Swiss women step up

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 23 September 2010

GENEVA – Swiss women for the first time captured most of the seats in the country’s seven-member executive branch yesterday, brushing aside Switzerland’s history as one of Europe’s last nations to grant women full suffrage. The tilt in the balance of power came as parliament in Bern voted Social Democrat lawmaker Simonetta Sommaruga into the Cabinet. “We’ve reached the goal after a century-long struggle,” said Ruth Dreifuss, a former Swiss Cabinet member who in 1999 served as the country’s first female president. Unlike most countries headed by presidents or prime ministers, Switzerland is largely governed by seven politicians from different parties who comprise the Federal Council. Major decisions are made by consensus, and the presidency rotates on a yearly basis among the ministers. Switzerland’s popularly elected parliament took four rounds of voting to elect Sommaruga to fill the position vacated by Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger. Free Democrat lawmaker Johann Schneider-Ammann also won a seat in a special election called after Leuenberger and Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz announced their retirements. The Cabinet already had three women and two men representing five parties. (AP)


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