Reform-minded former Swiss Chancellor dies at 93

During his tenure in government administration, Walter Buser presided over around 70,000 decisions by the Federal Council. Keystone / Str

This content was published on August 21, 2019 - 09:27

Walter Buser, the first and only Federal Chancellor from the Social Democratic Party, has died at the age of 93.

Buser’s family said on Wednesday that the former chief-of-staff passed away suddenly on August 17. Buser was born in 1926 in canton Basel Country and was elected chancellor on June 11, 1981.

The position is a political appointment but has only a technocratic role.

During his ten-year term as chancellor he established a leadership structure for crisis situations and reformed the approval process for popular initiatives. He also established regular press conferences and expanded the Federal Chancellery into a staff unit of the executive body.

Buser had a long and dedicated career in government administration including as vice-chancellor from 1968 to 1981. During his time as vice-chancellor and chancellor he missed only one out of 1,178 Federal Council meetings. Some 70,000 decisions were made by the Federal Council under his watch.

Following his retirement, Buser became president of the Forum Helveticum, which aims to promote language-cultural understanding across Switzerland’s linguistic regions.

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