My acceptance speech to the Federal Assembly

(Transcript of the speech)

Mr President,
Dear Colleagues,

Just a few moments ago the Federal Assembly elected me to the Swiss federal government. I thank you, for your trust in me personally, and for electing a government that is composed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Switzerland.

I have no illusions: my election is the product of a variety of motives. But I will do everything in my power within this government to help jointly solve the problems our country faces, problems that I feel are more serious than they are generally assumed to be.

I believe that our concordance system – within which four parties with differing political agendas share government responsibility – will produce appropriately workable compromises, provided the problems and solutions are dealt with openly and transparently.

I promise to do my utmost to justify your trust.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am well aware of the difficult situation facing public finances everywhere. It is customary that special celebrations are held for newly elected Federal Councillors, with invitations sent out to many a dignitary from the domains of national and local government, trade and industry and the military. I believe such events are planned for me, too!

Ladies and gentlemen, I do not believe the times are right for celebrations of this kind. To underline the seriousness of the situation: I would ask my home canton to cancel this public election party.

Ladies and gentlemen, of course this request does not include the modest election party planned by the community for the people there. You are all invited to attend the celebration there.

Ladies and gentlemen, with this in mind I accept my election. I will do what I can, and I hope that, with God’s help, our work will be graced with success.

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