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Old 16.09.2009, 19:34
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Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

The joined Swiss Federal Parliament, both the Senate (Ständerat) and the House of Representatives (Nationalrat) in joined session elected the successor to outgoing Bundesrat Pascal Couchepin. The leading contenders were Didier Burkhalter (Liberal Party, moderate right, from Neuenburg/Neuchâtel), Mr Lüscher (Liberal Party, heavily right + close to the SVP, from Geneva, and Mr Schwaller (CVP, leftist notions but in reality an agraro-conservative Catholic, from Freiburg/Fribourg). The SVP at the start supported Mr Lüscher, but when seeing the danger to have Mr Schwaller succeeding, shifted their support to Mr Burkhalter. Most people are more or less pleased, except the Ticinesi, who had to see that the French-Romans appreciate help from the Ticino, but in general are not ready to support the Ticinesi. Those Bundesräte from the Ticino Switzerland has had in general got into that position thanks to close link-ups with people in German-speaking Switzerland. So that you can expect them to press through a candidate of their own once/when Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey will resign from office.
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Old 16.09.2009, 20:33
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

Some things need to be explained. This vote not only stabilized the Swiss Federal government, far more important is that it became a pro-Europe vote, not least by the generally anti-EU minded SVP. Mr Lüscher from Geneva shares many anti EU positions of the SVP, while Mr Schwaller who has some left-of-centre notions is against the free EU trade of agrarian products and in reality an Agrarian-Conservative. That so many SVPlers supported pro-European Didier Burkhalter is because they feared that Mr Schwaller would be a hindrance on the road to modernisation, modernisation on which so many SVPlers commercially depend.

Another aspect is that the Federal government has become a slightly bit more urban and less rural by the change from Martigny/Wallis to Neuenburg. That the left to some extent support a man who in reality is a staunch conservative is one thing, that apparently many leftists turned away from Mr Schwaller in favour of Mr Burkhalter another one.
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Old 16.09.2009, 20:48
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

To the question: "Are you more right-wing or left-wing than Pascal Couchepin?" He refused to answer.

Damn is the guy cagey...either that or completely spineless!
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Old 16.09.2009, 22:00
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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To the question: "Are you more right-wing or left-wing than Pascal Couchepin?" He refused to answer.

Damn is the guy cagey...either that or completely spineless!
Pascal Couchepin, detested by many, liked by as many, was controversial. Staunch-conservative in some ways, but almost leftist in some others. If you asked me, I would say that I by 60% was left of Mr Couchepin but 20% on the same line, and 20% to his right.

So, to refuse to answer was the only thing to do. Otherwise he would be speaking until tomorrow morning at 9am .....

He comes from a very strange Canton. The cities of Neuenburg, LaChaux-de-Fonds and LeLocle are very industrial and leftists but much of the countryside is fairly agrarian, which means that somebody who is doing politics there has to be flexible and open-minded
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Old 17.09.2009, 11:44
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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Pascal Couchepin, detested by many, liked by as many, was controversial. Staunch-conservative in some ways, but almost leftist in some others. If you asked me, I would say that I by 60% was left of Mr Couchepin but 20% on the same line, and 20% to his right.
Pascal Couchepin may have been a bit out of touch at times and may have been a bit too quick to wag his tongue at times and have had a short temper at others. He didn't care much about criticism and stuck his guns when he thought he was right. I didn't always agree with him but those are traits worthy of respect.

I will miss him nevertheless. He was one of the more colourful characters of the Bundesrat. I'd even say the most colourful by far. He had style and he earned respect in a way that none of the other BRs (expect maybe Leuenberger in certain situations) did and I don't think he'd have swallowed Ghaddafi's sweet promises the way Merz did. He was a statesman more than a diplomat and a leader more than an administrator, which is why he sometimes offended people by getting the details wrong. He was one of the few Swiss leaders who could go abroad and meet the likes of Brown, Obama, Putin or Merkel eye to eye rather than being their lap dog. He will be missed.
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Old 17.09.2009, 18:21
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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Pascal Couchepin may have been a bit out of touch at times and may have been a bit too quick to wag his tongue at times and have had a short temper at others. He didn't care much about criticism and stuck his guns when he thought he was right. I didn't always agree with him but those are traits worthy of respect.

I will miss him nevertheless. He was one of the more colourful characters of the Bundesrat. I'd even say the most colourful by far. He had style and he earned respect in a way that none of the other BRs (expect maybe Leuenberger in certain situations) did and I don't think he'd have swallowed Ghaddafi's sweet promises the way Merz did. He was a statesman more than a diplomat and a leader more than an administrator, which is why he sometimes offended people by getting the details wrong. He was one of the few Swiss leaders who could go abroad and meet the likes of Brown, Obama, Putin or Merkel eye to eye rather than being their lap dog. He will be missed.
I will be among those people who will miss that great and "colourful" statesman and personality. If you look back there were some comparable men, like Friedrich-Traugott Wahlen, Pierre Graber, Georges-André Chevallaz, Jean-Pascal Delamuraz. My favourite is/was Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, the man who actually paved the way for the Swiss-EU bilaterals etc, the man who really modernized the Swiss military, etc. And whenever she is heavily opposed by many, I have deep respect for Mrs Micheline Calmy-Rey who succeeded to bring the Treaties of Schengen and Dublin through two popular votes in one single day.
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Old 17.09.2009, 18:23
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

love it....

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Old 20.09.2009, 11:45
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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Pascal Couchepin may have been a bit out of touch...I will miss him nevertheless...
However much you miss him you won't miss him quite as much as his friends working in the health insurance boards of directors...
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Old 21.09.2009, 14:36
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

So another mediocrity has been compromised on to lead a mediocre country.
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Old 21.09.2009, 21:24
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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So another mediocrity has been compromised on to lead a mediocre country.
That many Swiss mean that their country is something special is not new, and that you almost get tarred and feathered when telling them that it just is just another country. Whether Mr Burkhalter is mediocre will be seen later. He may not be flamboyant and he may not be a Barrack Obama, but such should not lead to foregone conclusions.
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Old 10.10.2009, 13:22
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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To the question: "Are you more right-wing or left-wing than Pascal Couchepin?" He refused to answer.

Damn is the guy cagey...either that or completely spineless!
There is no way anybody can say where Couchepin was on a left-right scale. Let's say he had his own views...
Burkhalter's answer is much better than the question.
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Old 10.10.2009, 13:37
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

Oups, I missed this thread.
In retrospective, we had a lovely Thursday afternoon here in NE. The sun was shining. The kids in town were happy to have an afternoon off from school... and the futur will tell us what DidierB. is made of.
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Old 10.10.2009, 14:01
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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There is no way anybody can say where Couchepin was on a left-right scale. Let's say he had his own views...
Burkhalter's answer is much better than the question.
Well Couchepin always seemed very right-wing to me...

I suppose one would have to be quite right-wing onesself to think he had left-wing views.
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Old 12.10.2009, 09:05
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Re: Didier Burkhalter, the new Bundesrat

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Well Couchepin always seemed very right-wing to me...

I suppose one would have to be quite right-wing onesself to think he had left-wing views.
Couchepin WAS very right-wing basically, but at times had leftist notions, and his positions on issues ranged from left-of-centre to heavily right-wing. It looks as if Mr Burkhalter is right-of-centre and is not "occupying" the whole spectrum.
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