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Switzerland's first female chancellor dies, aged 70

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Annemarie Huber-Hotz, the first female chief of staff to the Swiss government, has died at the age of 70, the country’s cabinet said late on Friday.

Huber-Hotz was elected as Federal Chancellor in 1999 after serving as head of the secretariat to Switzerland’s upper house of parliament and then as general secretary to the combined upper and lower houses.

She served as Federal Chancellor to Switzerland’s seven member cabinet until 2007. The role includes organising cabinet meetings, elections and referendums which are held under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.

After stepping down she worked for several charities in Switzerland, and was the first female president of the Swiss Red Cross.

Huber-Hotz, a member of Switzerland’s pro-business liberals (FDP), died from heart failure while walking with her family, Swiss newspaper Luzerner Zeitung reported, quoting a family member.

“Annemarie Huber-Hotz always felt that her job as Chancellor was a privilege. She understood how to approach and listen to other people,” the government said in a statement.

“With her enjoyment of work, her lifelong curiosity and her generosity, she was a role model for her fellow human beings.”

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Susan Thomas)

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