How two women change the government – and put men under pressure


How two women change the government – and put men under pressure

Viola Amherd and Karin Keller-Sutter make the government more accessible, while at the same time increasing the speed of the board.

OTHMAR MATT / ch media

When she had to participate at the time of the first question as a federal councilman on March 11, Karin Keller-Sutter was in the hall five minutes before the start of the world. She personally greeted the parliamentarians by pressing deadlines, she used the time to chat. And anyone who wanted to talk to her in the lobby could easily do it.

Viola Amherd was also surprised. After her media conference on the partial privatization of Ruaga, she gave interviews in the pools and welcomed every press. They're not used to it. If someone had problems in French, he helped Wallischer Schalk: "I know what you mean."

Almost three months, new federal councilors are in a position that attracts attention with unusual accessibility. But also with the content of the checkers that hit them. Keller-Sutter decided that radical Swiss jihadis passengers were not returned. Amherd started working in Ruag.

Gerhard Pfister with federal councilor Viola Amherd. Image: KEYSTONE

Two new federal councilmen are drawing fresh air into the government. They perform well in their departments, "says CVP head Gerhard Pfister. "They quickly became acquainted with the work of the federal council." The SP also praised it. Both are "an authentic personality that is open to discussion," says State Advisor to the SP Edith Graf-Litscher. "They work on a solution that is not aimed at solution, and not ideological."

Women are mistaken

After less than a hundred days in the office, it seems clear: Keller-Sutter and Amherd are likely to change geometry in the government. Women kneel in their dossiers, they are always well prepared, obviously take leadership in the departments and are engaged in an objective and constructive policy. They also get involved in the general business of the federal council. "Yes, of course," says Keller-Sutter. "I was selected for this."

In the federal parliament on the day of the election of the federal council:

Women raise speed in government and indirectly cause pressure on men. Ask questions, they want timely decisions when the business is mature. Keller-Sutter explained this in the case of Jihad Travelers. For several months, the Security Committee threw the issue out. However, as soon as the inhabitants of Eastern Switzerland took up their function, Switzerland was one of the first countries in the world that did not bring jihadis passengers back. "The deal was on the table, it was not decided," she says. "However, authorities like Fedol, the intelligence service and the consulate in the DFA, want instructions. Then you have to make a decision.

Observers trust Keller-Sutter that he will soon become a government strong woman. He brings with him everything: experience as a member of the board of directors and the world. As the former Director of Justice for the Canton of St. Gallen has links to the Ministry of Justice (FDJP). "A New World," he says, "is for me a state council."

This is a function of the course, which adds additional weight to Keller-Sutter. Under his predecessor Johann Schneider Ammann, the FDP and the SVP often used their majority to conduct business through the government. This will change with Keller-Sutter. Of course, this is also a bourgeoisie on migration, economic and fiscal issues. But at the time she was a member of the Council, she proved that she could form a majority in key left-wing transactions – such as implementing a mass immigration initiative or a tax-based AHV agreement.

Guy Parmelin Image: KEYSTONE

But Guy Parmelin (SVP), the new minister of economic affairs, will be less dogmatic than his predecessor. The new section is "lucky," he says. And relations with new federal councilors are "very good", just like his predecessors.

Keller-Sutter also agrees to have a greater distance from his client than Ignazio Cassis, the former head of the FDP. Nevertheless, she will work well with her party colleague.

Amherd himself in the Defense Ministry (VBS) impressed military and civil leaders as a legitimate quick reader. After only three months, the newcomer knows in which direction he wants to control DDPS. In her lecture at the Society of Officers, she set priorities: the renewal of aviation forces, the strengthening of cyber defense, the complete revision of the Civil and Civil Defense Act and the separation of Ruag. The special concern of the first Swiss Minister of Defense is the promotion of women in the military.

Amherd curve of learning

How adaptable is Amherd, she proved in her appearances in the media. At a press conference on the army's message, journalists noticed that Philippe Rebord, the head of the army, gave the boss a long time in the shadow conversation. Amherd, who happened in Ruag's play, is gone. Apparently well-informed, this time a woman from Valais led four men on her side, including Under-Secretary André Simonazzi.

Philippe Rebord Image: KEYSTONE

Amherd and Keller-Sutter share common concerns with Simonetta Sommaruga: a woman. On December 11, three women participated in the new parliamentary website Political Women, inspired by the President of the National Council Marina Carobbio. On a woman's day, three federal councilors invited 30 women to talk. "It was symbolically very important," says Carobbio. Three women are directed to the files and could therefore represent in the government "strong positions on important issues". "Women think they have and should play an important role in the government," he stressed. "Especially women have high expectations in a positive sense."

Keller-Sutter knows this, which her speech tells FDP delegates in January. They feel the pressure of expectations associated with the election of two federal councilors. "Everything has to be improved now: more leadership in the Bundesrat, the end of solo efforts." She will do everything in her power to fulfill her expectations. "Because they fit my own beliefs." (

Election of the federal council 2018: this is the title of daily newspapers

A historic day for women

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