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New interior minister joins cabinet

The cabinet has formally appointed Didier Burkhalter as the new interior minister to succeed Pascal Couchepin who stepped down at the end of October.

Burkhalter's portfolios include health, social security, culture as well as science and research.

The 49-year-old former senator, who was elected by parliament in September, will also act as deputy economics minister, according to a statement by the Federal Chancellery.

As widely expected all the other cabinet members remained in the current posts.

Burkhalter is one of two representatives of the centre-right Radical Party in the seven-member multi-party government.

The allocation of ministries is done by consensus according to a system of seniority.

Urs Geiser,