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Doris Leuthard
Doris Leuthard

Doris Leuthard (born 10 April 1963) is a Swiss politician and lawyer, and was a member of the Swiss Federal Council between 2006 and 2018. She was elected as President of the Swiss Confederation for 2010 and 2017.[1][2]


From 1 August 2006 until 31 October 2010 she was head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (the Swiss commerce minister). Since 1 November 2010 she is head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications. She was elected President of the Confederation for 2010,[1] and on 7 December 2016 for 2017.[3][4]

Leuthard was a member of the Swiss National Council from 1999 to 2006 and President of the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) (2004–2006). She represented Aargau.[4]

Following the resignation of Joseph Deiss from the Swiss Federal Council, Leuthard was elected as his successor on 14 June 2006. She received 133 out of 234 valid votes, and became the 109th member (and fifth woman) of the Federal Council. Her election represented a departure from a long precedent of replacing a member of the Federal Council with someone from the same language group. While Deiss was a French speaker, Leuthard is a German speaker.

For the calendar year 2009, Leuthard was elected Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, virtually assuring her election as president for the calendar year 2010. Due to a large amount of turnover on the Council in recent years, she was the longest-serving councilor not to have served as president. She was the third woman to hold the post, after Ruth Dreifuss (1999) and Micheline Calmy-Rey (2007).[5]

As President of the Confederation, Leuthard presided over meetings of the Federal Council and carried out representative functions that would normally be handled by a head of state in other democracies (though in Switzerland, the Federal Council as a whole is regarded as the head of state). She was also the highest-ranking official in the Swiss order of precedence, and had the power to act on behalf of the whole Council in emergency situations. However, in most cases, Leuthard was merely primus inter pares, with no power above and beyond her six colleagues. She was succeeded by Calmy-Rey in 2011, the first time two women had held the office in succession.

Following a reshuffle of portfolios after the by-election of two new councilors in 2010, Leuthard replaced outgoing Moritz Leuenberger at the head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.[6] In her capacity as minister, she was appointed by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in 2018 to the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma.[7]

The project SAFFA 2020 is under the patronage of the three federal councillors (Bundesrat) Doris Leuthard, Simonetta Sommaruga and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf as well as by the former councillor (aBR) Micheline Calmy-Rey.[8]

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