Alain Berset

Alain Berset (French pronunciation: ​[alɛ̃ bɛʁse]; born 9 April 1972) 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 has headed the Federal Department of Home Affairs since his inauguration.

Alain Berset
Alain Berset 2016.jpg
Berset in 2016
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018
Vice PresidentUeli Maurer
Preceded byDoris Leuthard
Succeeded byUeli Maurer
Vice President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2017 – 31 December 2017
PresidentDoris Leuthard
Preceded byDoris Leuthard
Succeeded byUeli Maurer
Head of the Department of Home Affairs
Assumed office
1 January 2012
Preceded byDidier Burkhalter
Member of the Federal Council
Assumed office
1 January 2012
Preceded byMicheline Calmy-Rey
President of the Council of States
In office
1 December 2008 – 23 November 2009
Preceded byChristoffel Brändli
Succeeded byErika Forster-Vannini
Personal details
Born (1972-04-09) 9 April 1972 (age 49)
Fribourg, Switzerland
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Muriel Zeender
Children3
ResidenceBelfaux, Fribourg
Alma materUniversity of Neuchâtel

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.[1] 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 Swiss German, Standard German, French, Italian, Romansh and English.[2][3]

BiographyEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Fribourg on 9 April 1972, the son of a teacher and a bookseller,[4] Berset studied political science and economics at the University of Neuchâtel, where he received a master's degree in political science in 1996 and a PhD in economics in 2005 with a dissertation about the role of international migration upon local working conditions.[5]

Berset is married to Muriel Zeender Berset and is the father of three children. The family lives in Belfaux, a village near Fribourg.[6]

Early careerEdit

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.[7]

Member of the Council of StatesEdit

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,[8] 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.[7]

Member of the Federal CouncilEdit

 
2018 Swiss Federal Council
 
Berset with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Davos in 2018

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.[9] 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.[10]

On 1 January 2017, Berset became Vice President of Switzerland 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. In an interview with Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), he stated "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".[11]

Blackmail AffairEdit

On 21 November 2020, the German-speaking weekly Die Weltwoche reveals, from the pen of the former Zurich UDC national councilor Christoph Mörgeli , that the Federal Councilor was the victim of an attempted blackmail the previous year:[12] a woman, since convicted in criminal proceedings, allegedly tried to extort 100,000 francs from him by threatening to publish photos and private messages that they had exchanged.[13] The political world seizes the case[14] and the Supervisory Authority of the Ministry public of the Confederation (MPC) opens an investigation to verify that the Federal Councilor did not benefit from favors in the treatment of his complaint.[15]

In September 2021, while the health policy followed by the Federal Council to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic was contested and Alain Berset criticized, the case bounced back: a controversy broke out over the use of a vehicle of representation during an escapade with this woman, on the use of collaborators of the State to settle the attempt of blackmail, in particular by sending the Task Force TIGRIS of the Federal Judicial Police at the home of the person concerned, and on the limits between respect for the private life invoked by the magistrate and the public interest.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

WorksEdit

Berset is the author of several books and some 30 articles on economic development, migration and regional development.[22]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Jaberg, Samuel; Kamel, Dhif (1 January 2018). "Youngest Swiss President in 84 Years Takes Office". Swissinfo. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  2. ^ World Economic Forum (26 January 2018), Press Conference with Swiss President Alain Berset after meeting with US President Donald Trump, The Swiss President will make his statement in German and French but can take questions in English as well.
  3. ^ "Alain Berset elected Swiss president for 2018". The Local. 7 December 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2018. "It is a great honour and a great responsibility," Berset told parliament after the vote, delivering his message in all four of Switzerland's official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh).
  4. ^ Hannes Britschgi (18 December 2011). "Glücklich ist nur, wer im Jetzt lebt". Sonntagsblick (in German). Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  5. ^ Alain Berset (2005). Transformation des systèmes locaux d'emploi et compétitivité des régions: le rôle des migrations internationales. Thèse de doctorat (in French). Editions Universitaires.
  6. ^ Claudia Blumer (15 December 2011). "Frau Bundesrat". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Alain Berset. Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs". Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Alain Berset: Vielleicht diesmal ganz vorne". SR DRS (in German). Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Gesamterneuerungswahl des Bundesrates vom 14. Dezember 2011" (in German). Die Bundesversammlung - Das Schweizer Parlament. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Burkhalter wird Aussen-, Berset Innenminister". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). 16 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  11. ^ "'We were too lax' admits Swiss interior minister on Covid-19". Swiss Info. 26 December 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Berset: Erpressung und Vertuschung". www.weltwoche.ch. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  13. ^ "A woman tried to extort 100,000 francs from Alain Berset". Le Matin (in French). 21 November 2020. ISSN 1018-3736. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  14. ^ "State secrets, secrets of alcove". Le Temps (in French). 23 November 2020. ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Investigation into the MPC after the blackmail attempt against Alain Berset". rts.ch (in French). 23 November 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  16. ^ Lea Hartmann, Daniella (19 September 2021). "The Berset limousine ride caused a sensation". Blick (in French). Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  17. ^ Laure Lugon; Michel Guillaume (17 September 2021). "Alain Berset: last tango in Zurich". Le Temps (in French). ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  18. ^ Florian Fischbacher (17 September 2021). "The case of the attempted blackmail against Alain Berset resurfaces". Le Temps (in French). ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Extramarital affair - Alain Berset would have used a limousine of function". Tribune de Genève (in French). 19 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Alain Berset in a media turmoil policy". rts.ch (in French). 19 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  21. ^ Daloz (adaptation), Lea Hartmann, Pascal Tischhauser, Jocelyn (17 September 2021). "Le MPC veut un enquêteur spécial dans le chantage contre Alain Berset". Blick.
  22. ^ "Alain Berset, Speaker of the Council of States 2008/2009 (SP, FR)". The Federal Assembly - The Swiss Parliament. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2012.

External linksEdit

  • Official biography in English Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA
  • Profile of Alain Berset with election results on the website of the Swiss Federal Council.
  • Alain Berset, Speaker of the Council of States 2008/2009 The Federal Assembly - The Swiss Parliament
  • Biography of Alain Berset on the website of the Swiss Parliament. (French)
  • Main d'oeuvre étrangère et diversité des compétences, Editions Harmattan, Paris 2000
  • Transformation des systèmes locaux d'emploi et compétitivité des régions: le rôle des migrations internationales, thesis for doctorate in economics, Editions Universitaires, Neuchâtel 2005
  • Circulation of Competencies and Dynamics of Regional Production Systems”, International Journal of Multicultural Societies, vol.8, no.1, 2006, pp. 61–83, with O. Crevoisier
  • Changer d'ère, pour un nouveau contrat gouvernemental, Éditions Favre, Lausanne 2007, with C. Levrat
  • “Ciel, le Parlement a démantelé mon projet de loi; les aléas de la phase parlementaire”, in Fluckiger A., Guy-Ecabert C, Guider les parlements et les gouvernements pour mieux légiférer, Edition Schulthess, Zürich 2007 pp. 137–145
Political offices
Preceded by President of the Council of States
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the Swiss Federal Council
2012–present
Incumbent
Preceded by Head of the Department of Home Affairs
2012–present
Preceded by Vice President of Switzerland
2017
Succeeded by
President of Switzerland
2018