This week, Switzerland’s Federal Assembly elected Alain Berset as president in 2023, reported RTS.
On 7 December 2022, Berset was elected when 140 out of a total of 181 valid votes were cast in his favour. Every year the Federal Assembly, which is made up of Switzerland’s parliament (National Council) and Council of States (upper house) vote to select one of the seven members of the Federal Council to be president for a year, a largely ceremonial role.
Next year’s president, the 50 year old Berset is a member of the Socialist Party from the canton of Fribourg. He has been a member of the Federal Council since 2012 and heads the Federal Department of Home Affairs, making him responsible for much of the management of the Covid pandemic. 2023 will be his second time as president – he was president in 2018. Berset will replace Ignazio Cassis.
On Wednesday, a small number of votes were cast in favour of other members of the Federal Council. Viola Amherd received 16 votes, Karin Keller-Sutter 10 and 15 other votes went to other members. Berset’s result this time was below the 190 votes he received out of 210 valid votes in 2018.
Alain Berset comes from a family of competitive runners. His mother Solange Berset became a Swiss marathon champion in 1987. His father, an uncle and a cousin were all runners who competed internationally. At the age of 17, Berset became junior champion in the 800-meter dash in western Switzerland.
Alain Berset also has a private pilots licence and takes to the skies in his spare time. In July 2022, he made the news after flying into a French military no-fly zone.