Ueli Maurer leaves the Federal Council. The announcement came itself this afternoon, Friday, at a press conference in Bern. Thus, the Minister of Finance, the former holder of the Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports (DDPS), will leave the political scene at the end of the year after 14 years in the country’s government. Maurer explained in today’s interview with the media that he had already made the decision to retire in the summer of last year.
An advocate of the UDC, the former head of his party, declared the ranks of the executive branch “with one eye laughing and another crying,” he declared at a press conference: he will lack an “exceptional team”, but he also rejoices in what awaits him in the future. “I have spent 40 years in politics and have really enjoyed this job,” he said. “I have plans already, I intend to find my personality a little…Being a primal again, I’m not a Fed member.”
“I am deeply sorry for the country and the party,” commented the first reaction of Swiss UDC President Marco Chiesa, emphasizing the political depth of the Federal Councilor. For the Democrats, the matter now will be to work out which German-Swiss figures in the party will be deployed to succeed the outgoing minister. In this sense, “we have work to do to replace it,” said the Ticino state assemblyman. The cantonal departments of the UDC will have until October 21 to present their candidates to the party’s “search committee”.
Election Day to the Federal Council, 10 December 2008 (cornerstone)
From city hall to control room
Born in 1950, Ueli Maurer is the oldest member of the current Federal Council and also the longest-serving Minister. The son of peasants from the Zurich Oberland, he began his political career in 1978, and was elected to the Hinwil Municipal Council. A young manager of an agricultural cooperative, he later joined the Zurich Cantonal Parliament and in 1991 joined the National Council in Bern. In 1996 he was elected to lead his party, the Democratic Union of the Center. Initially considered a mere puppet of Christoph Blücher, over the years he has been recognized as being instrumental in the electoral successes of the United Democratic Committee. The party rises from 15% to 29%. Jump. His tireless work on the ground is much appreciated. He left the presidency in 2008 after favoring the creation of more than 600 new departments.
Uli Maurer, a conservative, champion of the party’s hard-line wing, focuses on aggressive advertising campaigns, against Europe, against foreigners, and never deals with his opponents. After failing to move to the Council of States, in December 2008, he was elected to the Federal Council, succeeding Samuel Schmid, the minister who, after the internal division that led to the birth of the PBD, delegitimized the political justices. Maurer gets a narrow third-round election by one vote. But the DUP returned to government after Blücher’s exclusion, with Maurer taking over the defense.
As head of the DDPS, he says that the Swiss army can become “the best in the world”, although he quickly identified many problems with the ongoing repairs. He easily wins the battle over the abolition of compulsory military service, but loses the decisive battle for Gripen, which the people rejected in May 2014.
In 2016, transition to finance inherited from Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. The department runs in a hands-on manner, as it did during the early months of the pandemic, freeing up aid for businesses without much bureaucracy. In 2017, he became the first member of the Federal Council to participate in the G-20 summit, which was organized that year in Hamburg.
He was president of the union twice, in 2013 and 2019, a position he often takes abroad, especially during the second year of the presidency, when he also meets with Vladimir Putin and then US President Donald Trump.
Army major, married to Anne-Claude since 1976, father of six and a sports fan.
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