(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland appointed Karin Keller-Sutter as finance minister, making her just the second woman to hold that office since 1848.
Keller-Sutter, 59, is a member of the country’s pro-business liberals and has been justice minister for almost four years. She succeeds veteran finance chief Ueli Maurer, who led the department for seven years and announced his resignation for personal reasons in September.
His departure — together with that of another minister — triggered the cabinet reshuffle that will come into effect as of Jan. 1.
The liberal FDP has held the top finance post more often than any other group. Still, in Switzerland’s system of consensus-based rule ministers have more limited influence on the direction of policy than in other countries.
When it comes to women’s role in public life, Switzerland has often lagged its European neighbors. On a national level, women didn’t get the right to vote until 1971 and the only female finance minister to date was Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was in office 2010-2015.
The new finance minister’s docket includes the implementation of the 15% minimum tax for large corporations that was agreed on by OECD states. While the project is not popular in Switzerland because of fears for the country’s low-tax advantage in competing for corporate investments, it has committed to a 2024 start date for those new rules.
The new Swiss seven-member government will also include the following ministers:
- Ignazio Cassis of pro-business liberal party FDP, who was president this year, will remain foreign minister
- Alain Berset of Social Democratic Party SP will stay head of the interior ministry and assume the rotating presidency next year
- Guy Parmelin of national conservative party SVP will continue at the economy ministry
- Viola Amherd of Christian Democratic party Die Mitte will keep the defense ministry
- Newly elected Elisabeth Baume-Schneider of SP will assume the justice ministry
- Newly elected Albert Roesti of SVP will take over the ministry of environment
--With assistance from Jeff Black.
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