Two members of Switzerland’s Federal Council announced they would step down earlier this year. Last week, two women were elected to replace them.
Doris Leuthard and Johann Schneider-Ammann will be replaced by Karin Keller-Sutter and Viola Amherd.
This means there will soon be three women, instead of two, among Switzerland’s seven-member executive team.
Both women are from German-speaking Switzerland.
Amherd, a lawyer from Brigue-Glis in Valais, is a member of the PDC (CVP), while Karin Keller-Sutter, a teacher and translator from the Canton of St. Gallen, is a member of the PLR (FDP).
The election of these two preserves the previous political party balance, which is roughly aligned with the make up of party electoral strength.
In 2010 and 2011, women were a majority (4 of 7) in the Federal Council. Their number then dropped to three in 2012 and to two in 2016.
The first woman to land a job in the Federal Council was Elisabeth Kopp in 1984.
Keller-Sutter and Amherd both speak excellent French, something noted and well received by French-speaking Switzerland.
They start their new jobs on 1 January 2019.