LATEST: Swiss parliament elects new ministers to federal council

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Switzerland’s parliament has elected a new member of the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body. MPs are also voting for a second member.

With the departure of Finance Minister Ueli Maurer and Transport and Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga on December 31st, their replacements are being elected today.

Albert Rösti has been elected to replace Maurer, with the voting for Sommaruga’s replacement still ongoing.

MPs must decide between two candidates: Eva Herzog and Elisabeth Baume–Schneider.

The Federal Council (often referred to as the Cabinet abroad) consists of seven members, each heading a specific Ministry and representing different political parties.

As Maurer is from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and Sommaruga from Social Democratic (Socialist) party, new Councillors are chosen from these parties.

This is important so that so that the balance of power in the Federal Council, which reflects that of the parliament, is maintained.

The MPs from both chambers of the parliament — the Federal Assembly — which is composed of the 200-seat National Council and the 46-seat Council of States, elect the Cabinet jointly. Votes are cast by secret ballot in several rounds, until someone receives the absolute majority of votes.