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Ignazio Cassis: Swiss minister chosen as country's next president

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By Euronews  with AP
Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis pictured at a press conference in Paris in November.
Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis pictured at a press conference in Paris in November.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francois Mori, File

Switzerland's foreign affairs minister Ignazio Cassis has been selected to become the country's next president in January.

The vote in parliament was largely a formality after Cassis had been chosen as Switzerland's vice-president last year.

A total of 156 members out of 200 in the Swiss Federal Assembly chose Cassis to take over as President in 2022.

The role of the Swiss president -- to hold representative duties and chair cabinet meetings -- rotates every year among the seven members of the executive Federal Council.

Cassis will become the first president from Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region this century. He will take over from incumbent Guy Parmelin on January 1.

The 60-year-old -- who has a medical degree and practised as a doctor in internal medicine -- is fluent in Switzerland's three main languages; French, German, and Italian.

His main tasks will include fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restoring soured relations with the neighbouring European Union.

In May, the Swiss government had pulled out of years-long negotiations on a comprehensive package of bilateral accords with the EU. The two sides had failed to reach an agreement on the cross-border movement of jobseekers and other key issues.

Meanwhile, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset will take on the role of vice-president as is expected to be chosen as president in 2023.