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Election and economy top parliament agenda

The autumn session of the Swiss parliament is likely to be dominated by the election of a new cabinet minister to succeed Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin.

This content was published on September 7, 2009 - 10:15

The centre-right Radicals face a challenge by the Christian Democrats for an additional seat in the seven-member cabinet.

Other highlights over the next three weeks in parliament are debates about a third economic stimulus package worth SFr400million ($378 million) to mitigate the impact of the global economic downturn and an increase in unemployment.

It foresees measures to boost retraining, as well as the promotion of renewable energy and information technology.

High on the agenda also in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are controversial plans to send a contingent of Swiss soldiers to a European Union anti-pirate force in the Gulf of Aden.

Parliament is also due to begin discussions on proposals to cut health spending, including the introduction of a standard fee to be paid by patients for doctor's consultations as well as allowing health insurance companies to refuse cooperation with expensive doctors.

As a rule the Swiss parliament meets four times a year for three-week sessions in the capital, Bern.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

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