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Simonetta Sommaruga
Simonetta Sommaruga

Simonetta Myriam Sommaruga (born 14 May 1960)[1] is a Swiss politician serving as Vice President of the Federal Council since 2019, a body of which she has been a member since 2010. A member of the Social Democratic Party, she has served as head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications since 2019 and previously was head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police.[2] She served as Vice President of the Federal Council for the year 2014; in 2015 Sommaruga assumed the role of President of the Swiss Confederation. Subsequently, she returned to the council's vice presidency in 2019.[3]

Biography


Born in Zug,[4] Sommaruga grew up with two brothers and a sister in Sins, Aargau. She attended the gymnasium at Immensee, Schwyz and trained as a pianist at the Lucerne School of Music of Lucerne University. From 1988 to 1991, she attended English and Romance studies at the University of Fribourg.

Sommaruga held the directorship of the Swiss Consumer Protection Foundation (Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz) from 1993 to 1999, which earned her public recognition in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. She has held the presidency of that foundation since 1999 and that of the aid organisation Swissaid since 2003. She is also patron of SAFFA 2020, alongside then-federal councillors Doris Leuthard and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, as well as former federal councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey.[5]

Sommaruga's political career began as a member of the Grand Council of Bern from 1981 to 1990. She served in the municipal government of Köniz from 1997 to 2005.[6] In 1999, she was elected to the National Council; in 2003 she became a member of the Federal Assembly's upper chamber, the Council of States, representing the canton of Bern.[6]

On 11 August 2010, she announced her candidacy to succeed Moritz Leuenberger in the 2010 Federal Council election.[7] She was elected on 22 September 2010.[6]

She was elected as Vice President of the Federal Council for 2014 alongside President Didier Burkhalter. On 3 December 2014, she was elected as President of the Swiss Confederation for 2015, with Johann Schneider-Ammann as Vice President of the Federal Council. She served until 31 December 2015, when Schneider-Ammann succeeded her.

Sommaruga is married to the writer Lukas Hartmann and lives in Spiegel near Bern.[1] She is a distant relative of Cornelio Sommaruga and fellow politician of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland, Carlo Sommaruga.

Publications


  • Für eine moderne Schweiz. Ein praktischer Reformplan, with Rudolf Strahm, Nagel & Kimche, Munich, 2005, ISBN 3-312-00356-3
  • "Gurtenmanifest für eine neue und fortschrittliche SP-Politik" [14] (PDF). (235 KB), 10 May 2001
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