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Switzerland has First-Ever Female Majority in Cabinet

The Sept. 22, 2010, elections gave the Swiss cabinet its first-ever female majority. Less than 40 years after women won the right to vote, Social Democrat Simonetta Sommaruga became the fourth female in the seven-member Federal Council.

In Dec., 2011, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was elected president with 179 of 239 votes, becoming the third consecutive female president. Ueli Maurer was elected vice president. With her election, Widmer-Schlumpf became the first Conservative Democrat to serve as Swiss president.

Ueli Maurer took office as president in Jan. 2013 after garnering 148 of 202 votes in the Federal Assembly. Didier Burkhalter was elected vice president.

On Dec. 4, 2013, Didier Burkhalter was elected president for 2014 after receiving 183 of 202 votes in the Federal Assembly. Simonetta Sommaruga was elected vice president. Burkhalter took office on Jan. 1, 2014.

Early in Feb. 2014, a referendum calling for quotas on EU migrants passed with 50.3% of the vote. Critics point out that this move conflicts with a primary principle of the EU single market—freedom of movement.

Simonetta Sommaruga became president in Jan. 2015, with Johann Schneider-Ammann serving as vice president. Sommaruga is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. She is related to prominent humanitarian Cornelio Sommaruga.

Schneider-Ammann succeeded Sommaruga and became president on Jan. 1, 2016. A member of the Free Democratic Party, Schneider-Ammann was elected to the Swiss Federal Council in 2010. A former electrical engineer, he has a masters in business administration from INSEAD in France.

See also Encyclopedia: Switzerland .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Switzerland
Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office .

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