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Cabinet moves reform plans forward

The cabinet has confirmed its plans for the presidential term to be doubled from one year to two, as part of reforms aimed at strengthening the seven-member executive.

President Doris Leuthard stressed the importance of boosting collective decisions to adapt to a changing world.

“A two-year presidency would help facilitate contacts and protect the interests of Switzerland in an increasingly interconnected world,” she told a news conference on Wednesday.

Leuthard said a rotating two-year presidency was a major change for a country with a government system based on a fair representation of linguistic and cultural minorities.

The cabinet also endorsed proposals, mooted last March, to appoint additional state secretaries to represent government ministers abroad and in parliament.

The reforms, including closer cooperation between ministries, are subject to approval by parliament and partly also by a nationwide vote. Previous attempts over the past 20 years to overhaul the government system have failed.

The Swiss government has seven members, including a president with largely ceremonial powers. In addition there are four state secretaries.

Plans for a reorganisation of the ministries are expected later this year.

Leuthard dismissed allegations by a parliamentary report and the media about a climate of distrust among cabinet members.

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