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Swiss parliamentary session opens

Hansjörg Walter of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party has been elected speaker of the House of Representatives, after the swearing in of new members.

The speaker of the House, a position which rotates annually, is regarded as being the “first citizen” of Switzerland.

Green parliamentarian Maya Graf was elected deputy speaker, which means she should become speaker next year. She will be the first Green to hold the office.

The Senate elected Hans Altherr of the centre-right Radical Party as its speaker.

The winter session, which started on Monday, is the first since October’s parliamentary elections.

Thirty-four per cent of the 200 members of the House are taking their seats for the first time.

Members of the Senate were also sworn in, four of its new members have to wait for official confirmation of their election.

The major event on the agenda is the election of the seven members of the cabinet for which the two houses will come together in a joint session on December 14.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR