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Women take over in Swiss politics

Both houses of parliament have appointed women to chair their meetings over the next 12 months – a first in Swiss history.

This content was published on November 23, 2009 - 17:51

Pascale Bruderer, a member of the centre-left Social Democratic Party, was elected speaker of the House of Representative.

The 32-year-old Bruderer entered politics at a local level 12 years ago and joined the Swiss parliament in 2002.

The Senate will be headed by Erika Forster-Vannini of the centre-right Radical Party. The 65-year-old businesswoman has served more than 20 years in parliaments on local, cantonal and national levels. She became a Senator 14 years ago.

The prestigious posts of speaker are rotated among the political parties.

On December 2, a joint session of both houses is due to elect Economics Minister Doris Leuthard next year's Swiss president. She succeeds Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz.

Swiss women obtained the right to vote and be elected only in 1971.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

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