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Government wants a two-year presidency

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

It also came out in favour of increasing the number of state secretaries, according to a statement by the Federal Chancellery on Thursday.

Extending the presidency, which rotates among cabinet members according to a principle of seniority, would help boost the leading role of the office and represent the country better abroad, the statement said.

The announcement comes amid criticism of the government for failing to act quickly in times of crisis or under pressure from industrial powers.

The cabinet, which plans to present a bill to parliament in the next few months, is also considering reorganising some of the ministries.

According to Thomas Fleiner, a constitutional law expert, changes will eventually be unavoidable for Switzerland to be more flexible and adaptable to international developments.

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

Previous attempts at government reform failed either in parliament or at the ballot box. Voters in 1996 rejected a plan for the introduction of up to ten state secretaries.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch with agencies


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