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Merz to return to work after heart operation

Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz will return to his post on November 3, after undergoing heart surgery in September.

Merz, aged 66 and this year's vice-president, suffered a heart attack on September 20 in his hometown of Herisau in eastern Switzerland. Surgeons in Bern later performed a quintuple by-pass on the politician.

The attack came at the end of a week in which Merz had been under particular stress, against the background of the ongoing global financial crisis. Since then the financial crisis has gone through many more dramatic twists and turns, culminating in a government bailout for UBS announced on Thursday.

Merz informed Swiss President Pascal Couchepin in writing that his recovery was progressing very well and that he would resume fully the leadership of the finance ministry. He also said that he would still be available to take on the rotating post of president in 2009.

In his absence Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has taken over as acting finance minister.


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