Search

 

Cablegate: Swiss Cabinet Elections: Ueli Maurer To

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSW #0633 3461543
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111543Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5530

UNCLAS BERN 000633

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SZ
SUBJECT: SWISS CABINET ELECTIONS: UELI MAURER TO
REPLACE DEFMIN SCHMID; FINANCE MINISTER MERZ ELECTED
PRESIDENT FOR 2009

UELI MAURER ELECTED TO FEDERAL COUNCIL
--------------------------------------

1. (U) Swiss People's Party (SVP) candidate Ueli
Maurer was elected December 10 by a joint session of
the Swiss Parliament into the seven-member Federal
Council (Executive Cabinet). In what was expected to
be a narrow contest, Maurer won by a single vote,
garnering 122 of the 243 valid ballots cast. Former
Justice Minister and SVP figurehead Christoph Blocher,
who in addition to Maurer was nominated by the SVP as
a candidate for the position, withdrew his candidature
after receiving only 54 votes in the first round of
voting.

2. (SBU) Reflecting the polarizing nature of the
Blocher and Maurer candidacies within the Parliament,
the Socialist, Center-Left, and Green MPs voted
largely for SVP MP Hansjoerg Walter Q a "wild card"
candidate who was not nominated by his party for the
position. Walter generally is viewed by the SVP's
political opponents as more moderate than Maurer, who
is closely associated with the SVP's aggressive
campaign style Q and electoral success - of the past
decade.

3. (U) Following his election to the Federal Council,
Maurer thanked the Parliament for its support, saying
his election represented a "yes" in favor of the Swiss
political tradition of consensus. He commented that
he was pleased that the People's Party was now back in
the government. Meeting soon after the election, the
Federal Council announced December 10 that Maurer will
assume the duties of outgoing Defense, Civil
Protection, and Sport Minister Samuel Schmid at year's
end.

UELI MAURER: BIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
------------------------------------

4. (U) Ueli Maurer (58) is married and has six
children. He has been a MP (National Council) since
1991 and had served as president of the national SVP
party for 12 years before stepping down in February.
In August he was elected president of the Zurich
cantonal chapter of the SVP. Outside of politics, he
has professional experience in the agricultural
sector, and over the years has managed several farmers
associations in the Zurich area. He is president of
the Swiss vegetable producers' association.

5. (SBU) Ideologically very close to SVP party guru
Christoph Blocher, Maurer was a leading force in the
aggressive campaign strategies of the SVP over the
last decade in which the SVP ultimately became the
strongest political force in the federal and cantonal
parliaments. He is known to be opposed to Swiss
military foreign missions. Maurer also opposes the
extension of the Swiss-EU agreement on the "free
movement of persons" to Romania and Bulgaria.
Nevertheless, the Swiss tradition of forming coalition
governments comprised of representatives of all the
major political parties requires much compromise and
consensus. Pundits expect therefore that Maurer will
be compelled to support (or at least not contradict)
Federal Council decisions, whatever his personal
views. That largely should ensure continuity in Swiss
policies of interest to the USG.

FINMIN MERZ ELECTED SWISS PRESIDENT FOR 2009
--------------------------------------------

6. (U) As was expected, the December 10 joint session
of Parliament elected Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf
Merz (FDP) to be the Swiss president for 2009, making
him first-among-equals in the seven-member Federal
Council. The Swiss presidency primarily is a
ceremonial responsibility that rotates annually among
the members of the Federal Council, with candidacies
based on seniority, but still requiring parliamentary
confirmation. Merz (66) underwent emergency heart
surgery in September and returned to the FinMin job in
November. In the December 10 election he received 185
out of 209 valid votes. He will succeed his FDP party
colleague Pascal Couchepin as president. Christian
Democratic (CVP) Federal Councilor and Economic
Minister Doris Leuthard was elected vice-president
with 173 out of 198 votes. In Swiss practice this
will set up Leuthard to be elected president for 2010.

CARTER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: