Speculation about who will replace outgoing ministers Johann Schneider-Ammann and Doris Leuthard dominated the Swiss press on Sunday, as did calls for parliament to elect two women to the open Federal Council positions this December.
Representatives from Swiss political parties, especially the Green, Social Democratic and centrist parties, argued that selecting two women to replace Economics Minister Schneider-Ammann and Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications Minister Leuthard would go a long way toward closing the Swiss government’s gender divide.
That would make three of the seven members of Switzerland’s executive body women, along with Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga.
“If we can choose between candidates with equal competences, we will choose women,” declared Jürg Grossen, president of the centre Liberal Green Party. Martin Landolt, head of the centre-right Conservative Democratic Party, agreed.
“The Federal Council should reflect the population; two women is too few. It would be necessary to have at least three or four,” said Viola Amherd, vice-president of the centre Christian Democratic Party, who is herself considered to be a favourite to take up Leuthard’s Federal Council seat.
The proposal of two more women has support in the conservative right Swiss People’s Party as well. “Three women would be good,” parliamentarian Alice Glauser told the NZZ am Sonntag.
In the SonntagsBlick, Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis confirmed his preference for the election of two women but added that it is not a requirement.
If two women are elected to the Federal Council in December, Radical-Liberal parliamentarian Karin Keller Sutter is another favourite in addition to Amherd, according to French-language paper Le Matin Dimanche.