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Christian Democrats go for woman candidate

Leuthard stands a good chance of being elected to cabinet Keystone

The Christian Democratic Party has put forward its president, Doris Leuthard, as the sole candidate to succeed Joseph Deiss in the Swiss cabinet.

This content was published on May 9, 2006 - 16:08

Parliament is due to meet mid-June to elect a new representative of the centre-right party in the seven-member government.

The 43-year-old Leuthard said on Tuesday she was ready to enter the race for the Christian Democrat seat in cabinet.

It is widely believed that her election to the government is a done deal, since she enjoys support among all the main political parties in parliament.

Leuthard, a trained lawyer, has been party president since 2004 and is widely credited for leading the Christian Democrats back to success in several cantonal and local elections over the past two years.

Analysts say she has a political profile which is acceptable both to conservative and progressive voters, and she hasn't shied away from clever tactics to win majorities in parliament.

Leuthard has come out in favour of tightening the asylum laws but is against the privatisation of the main telecommunications company, Swisscom.

Background

Some of her critics say Leuthard is too close to the business community as a board member of a regional bank and an electricity company.

Leuthard went into politics as a member of the Aargau cantonal parliament nearly ten years ago. She has been a member of the House of Representatives for her party since 1999.

If elected by a joint session of both houses of the federal parliament on June 14, Leuthard would be only the fifth female cabinet minister since the creation of the modern Swiss state in 1848.

Currently Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey is the only woman in the seven-member cabinet.

The Christian Democrats hold just one seat in the cabinet after losing a cabinet post to the rightwing Swiss People's Party in 2003.

The incumbent Christian Democrat, Economics Minister Joseph Deiss, announced his resignation last month, after seven years in the cabinet.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Swiss cabinet is made up of seven members of the four main political parties.

The centre-left Social Democrats, the rightwing Swiss People's Party and the centre-right Radicals hold two seats each.

The centre-right Christian Democrats have just one seat, after losing their second seat to the People's Party in 2003.

Candidates are not elected to ministries but to the seven-member body which distributes portfolios according to the principle of seniority.

The post of Swiss president is mainly ceremonial and limited to a one-year term.

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