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Cabinet race Official candidates for cabinet election named

Karin Keller-Sutter

Karin Keller-Sutter is a favourite for one of the posts

(KEYSTONE/Gian Ehrenzeller)

Three women and one man have been put forward to fill the two Swiss cabinet posts that will become vacant at the end of the year.

The electionexternal link for the ministerial positions on Switzerland’s Federal Council, to replace Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications Minister Doris Leuthardexternal link and Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammannexternal link, will take place in the Swiss parliament on December 5.

+Doris Leuthard steps down

+ Johann Schneider-Ammann announces his resignation

The two parties nominating candidates are the centre Christian Democratic Partyexternal link, and the centre-right Radical-Liberalsexternal link. They announced their nominees on Friday evening, having met for special hearings earlier in the day.

The Christian Democrats have put forward Viola Amherdexternal link, from the canton of Valais, who sits in the House of Representatives, as well as Heidi Z'graggenexternal link, a member of the cantonal government from the central Swiss canton of Uri, who, as yet, has no federal level experience.

Viola Amherd, Heidi Zgraggen

Viola Amherd (left) and Heidi Z'graggen


There were no surprises with the nomination of Karin Keller-Sutterexternal link, for the Radicals, as she had been a clear favourite beforehand. The Senate president from canton St Gallen has ambition: she was up for a ministerial position in 2010, but lost out to Schneider-Ammann. The second nominee is Senator Hans Wickiexternal link, from canton Nidwalden, in central Switzerland.

Hans Wicki, Karin Keller-Sutter

Hans Wicki and Karin Keller-Sutter


The naming of the candidates puts an end to the months of speculation that followed the double resignation announcement, which came within the space of a few days in September.

Women – the big question

The big question has been how many women would be elected to the Federal Council. Commentators have argued that selecting two women to replace the outgoing ministers would do much to boost equality.

This would mean that three of the seven members of Switzerland’s executive body women, along with Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga.

The new ministers – whose portfolios will be announced sometime after the election - will take up their posts on January 1, 2019.


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