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Philippe Rebord Head of Swiss army quits for health reasons

Philippe Rebord

Philippe Rebord lasted just over two years as the head of the Swiss Armed Forces

(Keystone)

The head of the Swiss Armed Forces, Philippe Rebord, has handed in his resignation. His contract ran until the end of 2020. 

Rebord, 61, told the media in Bern on Thursday that he was suffering from a serious thrombosis and needed a hip operation. He will stay in office until the end of the year.

Defence Minister Viola Amherd said the search had begun for a successor, who will be chosen by the government probably before the end of the year.

Rebord started his army career in 1985 and took over from André Blattmann at the beginning of 2017external link. He faced several challenges, including reducing in the size of the army after parliament passed reformsexternal link.

Last November he apologised for the excessive expenses incurred by the military leadership, recognising that “moral errors” had been made in the past.

Second resignation

In separate development, Daniel Baumgartner, head of training and education, also handed in his resignation from the armed forces staff.

Amherd said Baumgartner, who is among the top three Swiss army leaders, had asked for a new position. She refused to comment on the reasons for Baumgartner's request.     

Neutral Switzerland operates a militia army system. Professional soldiers constitute about 5% of the military and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 to 34.



swissinfo.ch/ts; ug

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