Lady Head of State for the Swiss
GENEVA – Parliament on Wednesday elected Economy Minister Doris Leuthard as Switzerland’s head of state for 2010, marking the first time that women will head all three main arms of the federal government.
The largely honorific presidency, which carries a representational function abroad, is rotated annually among the seven cabinet ministers in the Federal Council.
Leuthard obtained 158 votes out of 183 valid ballots cast by the Federal Assembly, the Swiss parliament said on its website.
It marks the first time that the three leading federal institutions in Switzerland will be led by women, after women were elected as presidents (speakers) of the two parliamentary chambers last month.
Leuthard, 46, a Christian Democrat, succeeds Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz, who has been at the forefront of a diplomatic stand-off with Libya this year.
Leuthard is the third woman to take up the federal presidency, with the first elected in 1998.