Former cabinet minister Furgler dies

Kurt Furgler, a former government minister, has died at the age of 84 after suffering from heart failure.

This content was published on July 24, 2008 - 15:52

His family announced that Furgler - a 15-year member of cabinet - passed away in St Gallen, the city of his birth, on Wednesday.

He is considered one of the most brilliant political figures in post-war Swiss history.

Born in 1924, Furgler studied law and went on to become a prominent lawyer. He was elected to parliament at the age of 30 and joined cabinet in 1972.

The centre-right Christian Democrat was justice minister for ten years before taking over the economics ministry for the rest of his tenure in government.

He held the rotating post of Swiss president three times.

Furgler had a reputation as a reformer. He brought about changes to adoption laws and legislation concerning children and marriage, as well as the acceptance of the constitutional article enshrining equal rights for men and women.

He was also known for a piece of legislation, which restricted property purchases by foreigners.

In 1985 he welcomed the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva.

In paying tribute to Furgler, Swiss President Pascal Couchepin said he had always been impressed by the "clarity and exactness of his thinking".

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