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Calmy-Rey elected president with poor result

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has been elected Swiss president for 2011 – a largely ceremonial post which is rotated annually among cabinet ministers.

Calmy-Rey won just 106 votes among 233 parliamentarians present, recording the worst result in a presidential election in nearly a century.

Correspondents say the poor result was to be expected following a report by a parliamentary committee last week which found she had exceeded her authority in handling a diplomatic crisis with Libya.

In response, Calmy-Rey said that the results should be forgotten as soon as possible.

“I am the president of all the Swiss,” she said, adding that she would strive to defend their security and prosperity during her presidential year.

It is the second time since 2007 that the centre-left Social Democrat Calmy-Rey will chair the cabinet meetings and represent Switzerland as head of state abroad for a year.

The 65-year-old foreign minister, who joined the cabinet in 2002, follows Transport Minister Doris Leuthard as president.

Parliament on Wednesday also elected Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf as vice-president for next year.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR