- 1. Career
President of the Swiss Confederation
Date of Birth: 9 April 1972
Age: 51 years old
Alain Berset is a Swiss politician who has served as a Member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2012. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), he heads the Federal Department of Home Affairs since he took office. Berset serves as President of the Swiss Confederation for 2023.
From 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, Berset served as President of the Swiss Confederation. At age 45, he was the youngest officeholder since Marcel Pilet-Golaz in 1934. Prior to his election to the Federal Council in 2011, he was a member of the Council of States (from the canton of Fribourg, 2003–2011), where he served as President of the Council of States for the 2008–2009 term. Berset speaks French, German, Italian, Romansh and English.
Berset worked as assistant lecturer and researcher at the Institute for Regional Economics of the University of Neuchâtel from 1996 till 2000, when he moved to the Hamburg Institute for Economic Research for a year. In 2000 he became a member of the Constituent Assembly of the canton of Fribourg and president of its social democrat parliamentary group until 2004. He also served on the Belfaux communal parliament from 2001 to 2003. In 2002, he became strategic consultant to the Department of Economic Affairs of the canton of Neuchâtel.
Member of the Council of States
In 2003 he was elected to the Swiss Council of States from the canton of Fribourg as a member of the Social Democratic Party becoming the youngest member of the Council of States, as well as the party's parliamentary group's vice president in December 2005. He was also a member of the parliamentary assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Following his reelection in 2007, he was elected the States Council's vice president in 2007–2008; he subsequently served as the body's president in 2008–2009.
Member of the Federal Council
On 14 December 2011, he was elected to the Swiss Federal Council, the seven-member Swiss federal government, with 126 votes out of 245. He was one of the Social Democratic Party's two candidates (alongside Pierre-Yves Maillard) officially put forward to succeed the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey, who had announced her resignation from the Federal Council. Berset became head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs as its former head Didier Burkhalter became head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
On 1 January 2017, Berset became Vice-President of the Federal Council under President Doris Leuthard, whom he succeeded on 1 January 2018. He left the presidency on 31 December 2018. He was succeeded by Ueli Maurer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland, as head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, he was one of the leading figures in the government's response to the crisis. Following an interview with Berset, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) wrote, "there were moments during the first wave when he no longer knew whether it was day or night, weekday or weekend. He said he had never experienced anything like that before".
On 1 January 2022, Berset became again Vice-President of the Federal Council, under President Ignazio Cassis; on 7 December 2022, he was elected President, succeeding Cassis on 1 January 2023.
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