Swiss president won't run again

2011-09-07 17:01
Geneva - Swiss President and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey announced on Wednesday she would not be running for re-election in December, Swiss newswire ATS reported.

According to the newswire, the Socialist Party figurehead informed the head of the lower house she would be standing down at the end of the year.

Calmy-Rey is expected to speak to reporters on Wednesday afternoon after the weekly government meeting.

Switzerland's presidency is elected annually by a joint session of parliament, but usually rotates in turn among the seven members of the Federal Council or government. It is a largely honorific position with little powers.

The departure of Calmy-Rey, who has been in government since 2003, is seen as part of a Socialist Party strategy ahead of the October 23 parliamentary elections.

The elections are expected to be hard fought between the Socialists and the right-wing Swiss People's Party, currently the biggest group in parliament and expected to win more seats.

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