On 2 November 2022, Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland’s minister for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication, a role she’s held since 2019, tendered her resignation.
Sommaruga said the reason for her departure was personal and related to the health of her husband. The minister had already taken a week away from her duties to be with her husband.
Sommaruga is a member of the Socialist Party (SP/PS) and was elected a member of the Federal Council in 2010. Before politics she trained as a pianist and studied English and romance language literature and culture at Fribourg University in Switzerland. Born in the canton of Zug, she grew up in Aargau and now lives in Köniz in the canton of Bern.
She became a public figure while working for the consumer protection association Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz from 1993 to 1999. In 1998 she became a member of the Köniz municipal council before becoming a National Council member in 1999 and a member of the Council of States in 2003. She was Switzerland’s president in 2015 and in 2020.
More recently, the minister has been criticised over her handling of the energy crisis.
Switzerland’s Socialist Party is asking candidates to put themselves forward by 21 November 2022. Party leadership wants to exclude men from the contest, something that Daniel Jositsch, a member of the Socialist party, has described as discriminatory, reported RTS. According to Jositsch, competence is more important than gender. The party’s leadership wants one of the two Socialist Party members of the Federal Council to be a woman. Given the other (Alain Berset) is a man the replacement must be a woman, it says.
Official resignation video (in German)