Switzerland’s outgoing President Didier Burkhalter was named both Politician of the Year 2014 and Swiss of the Year 2014 at the 13th annual Swiss Awards, held Saturday in Zurich and broadcast in all of the country’s language regions.
Burkhalter was honoured for his role as co-President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which included mediation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. His efforts earned great respect not only domestically but also internationally.
In accepting the award for Swiss of the Year, Burkhalter thanked his staff, his wife, and the people of Switzerland for their support.
“Throughout the year there was a lot of reaction – criticism, but also support” – from the public, said Burkhalter. “And that shows that there is a link between the cabinet and the people. It’s not always perfect – it will never be perfect – but it exists. And that’s important.”
The Swiss Awards are given each year in the categories Politics, Business, Culture, Show and Society. The winners are chosen through voting by the television audience.
The Swiss of the Year is selected by the public from among the 15 nominees in the five categories. Burkhalter received 46.43% of the votes for Swiss of the Year, and a standing ovation from the audience.
swissinfo.ch and agencies