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Widmer-Schlumpf named "Swiss of the Year"

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has been named Swiss personality of 2008 by television viewers across the country.

Widmer-Schlumpf, a clear winner with almost 70 per cent of the votes, said she wouldn't have thought holding the prize, which she said was "for everyone", would have been possible a year ago.

2008 was indeed a rollercoaster year for Widmer-Schlumpf. In December 2007 she suddenly found herself a cabinet minister after receiving more votes than the incumbent justice minister, Christoph Blocher, in cabinet elections.

Widmer-Schlumpf accepted the position and was promptly cast out of her rightwing Swiss People's Party, along with then Defence Minister Samuel Schmid. The two then joined a new party, the Conservative Democratic Party.

Then in September she was temporarily handed the finance ministry as well after Hans-Rudolf Merz had a heart attack. One quintuple bypass later Merz was back and is Swiss president for 2009.

The Swiss Awards, handed out every year since 2002, go to Swiss personalities for their creative, innovative ideas or their courage.

Widmer-Schlumpf joins wrestler Jörg Abderhalden, football coach Köbi Kuhn, car builder Peter Sauber, aid worker Lotti Latrous, tennis player Roger Federer and paediatrician Beat Richner.


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