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Merz to return to finance post

Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz will return to his cabinet post after his recovery from a heart attack.

The 66-year-old cabinet minister informed Swiss President Pascal Couchepin of his plans on September 29 and left the Bern University hospital on Wednesday.

In a letter addressed to Couchepin, Merz indicated he would return to work as soon as possible, the Federal Chancellery said.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has taken on the finance portfolio in the meantime.

On Thursday, Economics Minister Doris Leuthard expressed confidence that the government's handling of the economy was under control in Merz's absence.

Merz collapsed in his hometown of Herisau in eastern Switzerland on September 20 and underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery the following day.

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