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Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (born 16 March 1956) is a Swiss politician and lawyer, and former member of the Swiss Federal Council from 2008 to 2015. She was the head of the Federal Department of Finance (the Swiss finance minister). She served as President of the Swiss Confederation for the year 2012.

Personal life

Widmer-Schlumpf is married and has three children. She is the daughter of former federal councillor Leon Schlumpf.[1] She is the second federal councillor whose father had held the same office, after Eugène Ruffy, and the sixth woman to be elected to the Swiss Federal Council. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf is also patron of the project SAFFA 2020, alongside the federal councillors (Bundesrat) Doris Leuthard, Simonetta Sommaruga and the former councillor (aBR) Micheline Calmy-Rey.[2]

Career in Grisons

Widmer-Schlumpf received her degree in law at the University of Zürich in 1981 and her LLD in 1990. She worked as a lawyer from 1987 to 1998. She was elected to the district court of Trin in 1985, presiding from 1991 to 1997. As a member of the Swiss People's Party, she was the cantonal legislative of Grisons 1994 to 1998, and in 1998 was elected to the cantonal government as the first woman, acting as president in 2001 and 2005.

Swiss Federal Council

Widmer-Schlumpf was named as an alternative candidate to Christoph Blocher by the Christian Democrat, Social Democrat and Green factions in the Swiss Federal Council elections of 12 December 2007. In the first round, she received 116 votes, compared to 111 votes for Blocher. In the second round, she was elected federal councillor with 125 votes, 115 votes going to Blocher and 6 spurious, empty or invalid. She accepted her election on 13 December 2007. She assumed Blocher's old portfolio as head of the Department of Justice and Police.

After her election, Widmer-Schlumpf was intensely opposed by the national leadership of the Swiss People's Party, who denounced her as a traitor to her party for accepting an election that she won without the support of the party. Immediately after her election, she was excluded from the SVP party group's meetings, as was her colleague Samuel Schmid.[3]

In another unprecedented development in Swiss politics, on 2 April 2008 the national party leadership called upon Widmer-Schlumpf to resign from the Federal Council at once and to leave the party. When Widmer-Schlumpf refused to do so, the SVP demanded that its Grisons section expel her. Since Swiss parties are legally federations of cantonal parties, the SVP could not directly expel her. The Grisons branch stood by Widmer-Schlumpf, prompting its expulsion from the national party on 1 June. In response, the former SVP Grisons section formed the Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland. The SVP's Bern section, of which Schmid is a member, also joined the new party.

Following a reshuffle of portfolios after the by-election of two new councilors in 2010, Widmer-Schlumpf replaced outgoing Hans-Rudolf Merz as the head of the Federal Department of Finance which she presided over since then.[4]

Widmer-Schlumpf was elected Vice President of the Confederation for 2011, alongside President Micheline Calmy-Rey. On 14 December 2011 she was elected President of the Confederation for 2012—the fourth woman to hold the post (after Ruth Dreifuss in 1999, Calmy-Rey in 2007 and 2011 and Doris Leuthard in 2010), and the third woman in a row. Due to a large amount of turnover on the Federal Council, she was the longest-serving member to have not yet served as President.

After the Swiss People's Party (SVP) won a record vote of over 29% in the 2015 general elections, Widmer-Schlumpf announced she would not run for re-election to the Federal Council on 28 October 2015.[5][6][7] She was succeeded by Guy Parmelin.


  • Voraussetzungen der Konzession bei Radio und Fernsehen. doctorate thesis. Helbing und Lichtenhahn, Basel 1990, ISBN 3-7190-1157-7.
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