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Ignazio Cassis elected as president of Switzerland for 2022

Ignazio Cassis elected as president of Switzerland for 2022

Ignazio Cassis, the former vice-president, has been elected as president of Switzerland for 2022. This will be his first time serving in the role, and the first president from Canton Ticino since Flavio Cotti in 1998.

How is the president of Switzerland elected

Instead of being directly elected by Swiss citizens, the role of president is chosen by a joint session of both houses of the Swiss parliament, the National Council and the Council of States, where tradition dictates they elect the member of the Federal Council (the executive branch) that has spent the longest time in the council without being president. Currently, this honour goes to Cassis.

The session, held at noon on Wednesday, confirmed Cassis by 156 votes out of 197. Usually, voting is only a formality, with votes against seen as a protest vote. The lowest vote tally in Swiss history was for Micheline Calmy-Rey in 2011, who received 106 votes out of 189, but still became president.

Role of the Swiss president limited and ceremonial

Despite holding the title of “president,” Cassis will share executive power with other members of the Federal Council, meaning no official “state visits,” and visiting dignitaries will be received by all seven council members. Cassis will have the deciding vote in split decisions within the council, as well as perform some ceremonial duties.

Cassis will serve a year-long term, from January 1, 2022, until December 31 of the same year. He will be replacing Guy Parmelin, who, after a rocky start, was called the “father of the nation” by National Councillor, Katharina Prelicz-Huber. "I hope that Federal Councillor Cassis can also build this feeling among the citizens," she said.

Cassis comes into the job as the least popular Federal Councillor, according to a survey by SRG SSR. Switzerland is facing down several crises at once: frosty relations with the European Union, possible energy shortages and the ever-looming presence of COVID-19 will be on his agenda from the start.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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