by Fabrizio E. Crameri
For the first time in 1 years, the Italian-speaking minority in Switzerland gets back its cabinet minister. He will replace Didier Burkhalter on the multi-party government. The Italian-speaking minority rejoices the reestablishment of constitutionally-guaranteed representation in the executive; and urges not to see this election as a “present” from the majority.
The equitable representation of the language regions in the Federal Council has been a major concern since the Confederation was founded. Although it was not required by law, even the very first Federal Council contained two representatives of ‘Latin’ Switzerland. It has been rare for the 5 to 2 ratio not to be respected. Since 1999, the constitutional provision has not only regulated regional, but also linguistic representation. Language regions must be appropriately represented. This has not been the case since 1999; the last time an Italian-speaker (Flavio Cotti) sat in the executive.