• Switzerland edition
 
Introducing... Doris Leuthard
WTO

Introducing... Doris Leuthard

Published: 04 May 2012 14:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2012 11:12 GMT+02:00

Introducing... is The Local's new column giving the lowdown on a top Swiss personality. This week Lyssandra Sears looks at the woman who was recently voted Switzerland’s favourite politician and once got wellied at the Mountain Cheese Olympics.

Who is she and why is she famous?

Doris Leuthard is a trained lawyer and member of the Christian Democratic People’s Party. She was voted onto the Federal Council in 2006, and elected as president in 2010. Having served as economic affairs minister until 2010, she is currently head of the Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.

She was president? But she’s… a woman.

She is a woman, that’s correct. She is, more precisely, the fifth woman ever to be elected to the Federal Council, Switzerland's government.

In fact, at the time she was elected, all three rotating governmental posts were filled by women. She was so was chuffed with this that she organized a special event, inviting 700 women from all over Switzerland to talk about everything from being a grandmother to working unusual jobs.

She was also recently voted Switzerland’s most popular politician in a survey by two Sunday newspapers.

Just why is she so popular then?

Well it might have something to do with the fact that she likened German anti-noise campaigners to the Taliban…

What?!

Yes, she said the southern German campaigners were like Taliban terrorists trying to sabotage Zurich airport, which didn’t go down too well in Germany. They were outraged apparently. But despite a spot of discomfort in the confederation, on the whole a round of cheers went up for Leuthard on the Swiss side.

She speaks her mind...

She does. She didn’t shy away from talking to the pope about child abuse in the church. She also criticized the government for opening up Switzerland’s borders to the EU, and she thinks the initiative to restrict the construction of second homes should be toned down.

Those can’t be the only reasons she was voted the country's favourite politician….

Well, no. She is also busy doing a good job in her role as ministry chief. She flies around the world talking about climate change and trying to get people to agree to doing good. 

Hmm. Flies around the world, doing good, and climate change aren’t generally things that sit comfortably together in one sentence.

Would you rather she cycled herself to the climate summit in Mexico? Or hiked her way to China?

OK, point taken, she’s virtuous. But she’s also a politician. She must screw up?

Of course. She got wellied at a cheese contest in 2009.

Wellied? Not trollied?

No, she’s Swiss, not English. She had lots of wellington boots thrown at her by angry farmers at the sxth Mountain Cheese Olympics in the canton of Jura. She had to be protected by bodyguards with umbrellas. Apparently the farmers were furious that she wouldn’t help them in talks with the Swiss milk producers’ association.

What does she do for laughs?

Well, she doesn’t take public announcements about pony gymkhana trials very seriously for some reason. She had a giggling fit in parliament that did the rounds on YouTube. 

She sounds like a good sport.

She is, just as long as she's not exposed to the holy ire of the cheese olympians.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Wawrinka defeats Federer in all Swiss final
Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates after winning the Monte Carlo Masters as Roger Federer looks on. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Wawrinka defeats Federer in all Swiss final

Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Swiss compatriot Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 on Sunday to win the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament. READ () »

Federer sets up all Swiss tennis showdown
Stanislas Wawrinka and Davis Cup teammate Roger Federer pictured together in Geneva recently. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Federer sets up all Swiss tennis showdown

Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka eased into the Monte Carlo Masters final on Saturday, setting up the first all-Swiss title showdown in 14 years. READ () »

Mega diamond to be auctioned in Geneva
A Sotheby's employee poses for pictures with the "Graff Vivid Yellow," at 100.09 carats one of the rarest yellow diamonds of its size. Photo: Andrew Cowie/AFP

Mega diamond to be auctioned in Geneva

One of the world's largest yellow diamonds will go under the hammer in Geneva next month, with the Sotheby's auction house hoping to rake in up to $25 million for the gem. READ () »

Activist jailed for six years in Vasella case
Former Novartis chairman Daniel Vasella. Photo: AFP/File

Activist jailed for six years in Vasella case

A British animal rights activist was jailed for six years on Thursday for her part in a Europe-wide campaign of intimidation targeting Huntington Life Sciences, an animal testing company linked to Swiss pharma giant Novartis. READ () »

Zoo faces cruelty charges over cub deaths
Kurt Nünlist was appalled by the deaths of two cubs at the Bern zoo (photo:zvg)

Zoo faces cruelty charges over cub deaths

A Swiss animal lover has filed a legal complaint against Bern zoo, accusing it of cruelty over the deaths of two bear cubs. Dählhölzli zoo could be fined under Switzerland’s tough animal protection laws. READ () »

Germans smuggle cash out of Switzerland
Customs officials found €573 million in illegal money in 2013. Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol

Germans smuggle cash out of Switzerland

The number of Germans smuggling money out of Switzerland rose dramatically last year. Customs officers on the German-Swiss border said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Experts challenge e-cigarettes study
Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP

Experts challenge e-cigarettes study

Two Swiss medical organisations have rejected calls to overturn the ban on sales of electronic cigarettes in Switzerland. READ () »

Bern approves solution for Erasmus students
Students intending to go on an Erasmus exchange in 2014-15 will now be able to. Photo: Jirka Matousek

Bern approves solution for Erasmus students

Following the suspension of Switzerland's participation in the Erasmus student exchange programme, on Wednesday the federal government approved plans for a 23 million franc ($26 million) interim solution. READ () »

Kerry bound for Geneva talks on Ukraine crisis
US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva last year. Photo: Pool/AFP

Kerry bound for Geneva talks on Ukraine crisis

US Secretary of State John Kerry left on Wednesday for Geneva for high-stakes talks on Ukraine, armed with the threat of more sanctions against Moscow if diplomacy fails, as tensions on the ground escalated sharply. READ () »

Credit Suisse investment bank woes hurt profits
Credit Suisse offices in Zurich. Photo: Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse investment bank woes hurt profits

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said on Wednesday that its first quarter net profit took a heavy hit as its investment bank reeled from slumping trading in bonds. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Bern zoo faces animal cruelty charges over bear cub deaths
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
Advertisement:
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
International
Switzerland's residents are the happiest in the OECD: report
International
Swiss voters support bid to establish lofty minimum wage: poll
National
Switzerland's largest cities set to back regulated 'cannabis clubs'
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,013
jobs available