Simonetta Sommaruga

Simonetta Myriam Sommaruga (born 14 May 1960)[1] is a Swiss politician who served as a Member of the Swiss Federal Council from 2010 to 2022. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), she was President of the Swiss Confederation in 2015 and 2020.

Simonetta Sommaruga
Simonetta Sommaruga (2022).jpg
Swiss Federal Councillor
In office
1 January 2010 – 31 December 2022
President2015, 2020
Vice President2014, 2019
DepartmentJustice and Police (2010–2018)
Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (2019–2022)
Preceded byMoritz Leuenberger
Succeeded byÉlisabeth Baume-Schneider
Member of the Swiss Council of States
In office
1 December 2003 – 31 October 2010
ConstituencyBern
Member of the Swiss National Council
In office
6 December 1999 – 30 November 2003
Parliamentary groupSocial Democratic
ConstituencyBern
Personal details
Born
Simonetta Myriam Sommaruga

(1960-05-14) 14 May 1960 (age 62)
Zug, Switzerland
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse
(m. 1996)
Alma materLucerne University

A former director of the Consumer Protection Foundation, which merged into the Swiss Alliance of Consumer Organisations in 2010, Sommaruga has headed the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications since 2019, previously heading the Federal Department of Justice and Police (2010–2018).[2] She served as Vice President of Switzerland for 2014 and 2019. Sommaruga assumed the role of President of the Swiss Confederation in 2015, before returning to the position in 2020. She resides in the canton of Bern.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Born in Zug,[3] Sommaruga grew up with two brothers and a sister in Sins, Aargau. She attended the gymnasium at Immensee, Schwyz and trained as a pianist at the Lucerne School of Music of Lucerne University. From 1988 to 1991, she attended English and Romance studies at the University of Fribourg, but did not graduate.[4]

Professional careerEdit

Sommaruga held the directorship of the Consumer Protection Foundation (German: Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz) from 1993 to 1999, which earned her public recognition in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, where it was active. She held the presidency of that foundation from 2000 to 2010, as well as that of the aid organisation Swissaid from 2003 to 2008. She was also patron of SAFFA 2020, alongside then-Federal Councillors Doris Leuthard and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, as well as former Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey.[5]

Political careerEdit

 
2015 Swiss Federal Council
 
2020 Swiss Federal Council

Sommaruga's political career began as a member of the Grand Council of Bern from 1981 to 1990. She served in the municipal government of Köniz from 1997 to 2005.[6] In 1999, she was elected to the National Council; in 2003 she became a member of the Federal Assembly's upper house, the Council of States, representing the canton of Bern.[6]

On 11 August 2010, she announced her candidacy to succeed fellow party member Moritz Leuenberger, who had announced his resignation, in the upcoming election to the Federal Council.[7] Sommaruga was elected by the Federal Assembly on 22 September 2010.[6] She was eventually elected for a full four-year term in 2011, before successfully seeking reelection in 2015 and 2019.

On 4 December 2013, Sommaruga was elected as Vice President of Switzerland by the Federal Assembly for 2014, alongside Didier Burkhalter, who was elected President of the Swiss Confederation. On 3 December 2014, she was elected to the presidency for 2015, alongside Johann Schneider-Ammann as Vice President of Switzerland. Her first international presidential trip was to Paris, where she joined the Republican marches of 11 January 2015, organised to defend freedom of speech following the Charlie Hebdo shooting perpetrated by Islamic terrorists. She served as President of the Confederation until 31 December 2015, when Schneider-Ammann succeeded her.

On 1 January 2019, she returned to the vice presidency under President Ueli Maurer. Sommaruga became President of the Swiss Confederation again in 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.[8] She was succeeded by Guy Parmelin on 1 January 2021.

On 2 November 2022, she announced her upcoming resignation from the Federal Council. She stated the decision had come abruptly following a stroke suffered by her husband.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Sommaruga, who is married to writer Lukas Hartmann, lives in Spiegel near Bern.[1] She is a distant relative of Cornelio Sommaruga and fellow politician of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland Carlo Sommaruga.

PublicationsEdit

  • Für eine moderne Schweiz. Ein praktischer Reformplan, with Rudolf Strahm, Nagel & Kimche, Munich, 2005, ISBN 3-312-00356-3
  • "Gurtenmanifest für eine neue und fortschrittliche SP-Politik" (PDF). (235 KB), 10 May 2001

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Biography of Simonetta Sommaruga on the website of the Swiss Parliament.
  2. ^ "Leuthard au DETEC, Widmer-Schlumpf aux finances". TSR Télévision Suisse Romande. SRG SSR. 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 30 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  3. ^ Eidgenössisches Justiz- und Polizeidepartement. Bundesrätin Simonetta Sommaruga Archived 19 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine (retrieved 10 June 2017).
  4. ^ The federal council - curriculum vitae of Simonetta Sommaruga
  5. ^ "Patronat" (in German). 2020.ch. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b c UVEK, Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation. "Lebenslauf". uvek.admin.ch (in German). Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Radio Télévision Suisse". rts.ch. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Socialist Sommaruga Takes Over Swiss Presidency". Voice of America (from Agence France-Presse). 1 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Simonetta Sommaruga quitte le Conseil fédéral pour son mari". Illustre (in Swiss French). Retrieved 7 November 2022.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Simonetta Sommaruga at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by Member of the Swiss Federal Council
2010–present
Incumbent
Preceded by Head of the Department of Justice and Police
2010–2018
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice President of Switzerland
2014
Succeeded by
President of Switzerland
2015
Preceded by Vice President of Switzerland
2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head of the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
2019–present
Incumbent
Preceded by President of Switzerland
2020
Succeeded by