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Change needed? Swiss president calls for extended term

Swiss President Doris Leuthard at a Swiss National Day event in Lucerne on August 1, 2017


The outgoing president of Switzerland, Doris Leuthard, has called for the presidential term to be extended to two years, instead of the current one, which would “better serve Switzerland’s interests”.

Leuthard,external link who will pass on the presidential baton to Alain Berset in January – the office is rotated on a yearly basis among the seven members of the Federal Council, according to seniority – made her comments to Swiss public radio RTSexternal link. She will shortly finish her second term as president, having last held the post in 2010.

+ Read here how the Swiss presidency works

During 2017 she made around 20 trips, including to Greenland, India and Argentina. Leuthard was also critical of Donald Trumpexternal link - he had previously threatend to “totally destroy” North Korea - during a speech at the United Nations in September. She later said his comments were “not in the spirit of the UN”.

For Leuthard, limiting the presidency to one year does not help Switzerland on an international level. “After a year, you have built up quite big network because you are travelling, you get to know quite a few presidents and then afterwards you step back and somebody else has to work on these relations. It’s not really very good for international contacts,” she said in an interview on Friday.

Leuthard, who also heads the environment, transport and communication ministry, said that two consecutive years would be ideal. “But I know that parliament won’t like that,” conceded the minister.

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