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Parliament endorses calls for cabinet reform

The House of Representatives is backing calls for an overhaul of the government system, including the creation of new ministries and a greater role for the president.

The House on Thursday unanimously approved a Senate motion aimed at boosting the efficiency of the cabinet to focus on strategic issues and improve cooperation between the seven ministries.

Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova assured parliament that the cabinet would present its reform plans in the first half of next year.

The motion, the brainchild of Didier Burkhalter, a senator who has just been elected to the government, is the latest in a series of attempts since the 1990s to reform the cabinet and the federal administration.

Last year the cabinet decided to abandon previous efforts, including a reorganisation of the portfolios and proposals to increase the number of ministries or state secretaries.

The proposals aim at introducing a two-year presidency – presently a largely ceremonial post which is rotated on an annual basis among the seven cabinet members.

In a minor reform, the domestic intelligence unit was transferred to the defence ministry at the beginning of 2009 to merge with the foreign intelligence service.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch


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