Federal Councillor Sommaruga to step down at the end of the year

Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga is stepping down at the end of 2022. This is largely for private reasons; her husband is seriously ill.

Simonetta Sommaruga, 62, was in government for twelve years. Photo: Stephane Schmutz / Stemutz.com

Her husband recently fell seriously ill. Sommaruga is married to 78-year-old writer Lukas Hartmann. The Federal Councillor only returned to work on Monday after a week's break. Her department announced that her husband was doing well under the circumstances. Now Sommaruga is stepping down largely for private reasons, as she announced to the media. The 62-year-old was in the government for twelve years. Only a month ago, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer announced his resignation at the end of the year. The 71-year-old is currently the longest-serving magistrate. His successor will be appointed in December.

Put to the test in Corona crisis

Sommaruga was elected to the Federal Council on September 22, 2010, at the age of fifty, succeeding Moritz Leuenberger. The pianist's involvement with the Foundation for Consumer Protection had enabled her to make the leap from the executive of the Bernese suburb of Köniz to the National Council in 1999. In 2003, she then succeeded in breaking down Bern's bourgeois bulwark in the Council of States. In her own party, Sommaruga is not without controversy; for some, she is too liberal. However, her abilities are recognized from the left to the right, and she mastered her two presidential years in 2015 and 2020, with many representative events, with flying colors.

Her role as a level-headed Federal President at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, when she addressed the population almost daily, remains unforgotten. In the national government, Sommaruga initially had to take over the justice and police department against her will. Nevertheless, she did not try to get rid of it at the first opportunity: She wanted to finish what she had started. In the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), Sommaruga was responsible for various important dossiers. Most recently, she appeared in particular as energy minister and presented numerous measures against the impending energy shortage.

Open race for successor

In the run-up to Sommaruga's resignation, which ultimately came as something of a surprise, the media had not given much thought to her successor. The most likely candidates are federal and cantonal politicians from German-speaking Switzerland. Women are likely to have good chances. The Greens could also attack the SP's vacant seat. However, no one has said anything about this yet.

Behind Maurer, Sommaruga is the longest-serving member of the government. The possibility that the current legislative term could be her last was not ruled out. Until now, however, Sommaruga had not made any concrete statements about her plans for the future. With the illness of her spouse, the situation has now changed. (SDA)


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