BERN, Switzerland (AFP) – The Swiss parliament on Wednesday elected justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga, a former concert pianist, to the largely symbolic position of president of Switzerland.
The choice of the 54-year-old was all but cer-tain as it was her turn among the seven-member Federal Council, or government, to take the rotating one-year presidency.
But she won a relatively high number of votes, 181 out of 236 ballots cast, underlining strong support across the country’s political divides.
Sommaruga joined the government in 2010 as part of the first majority female cabinet in Switzerland, one of Europe’s most conservative countries.
She is a Social Democrat who favours caps on immigration and reforms of public services. She is also a strong advocate of equal pay between men and women.