Swiss foreign minister to take over as president in 2011

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The Swiss parliament on Wednesday elected Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey as the country's president for 2011, although she garnered the lowest vote since 1920.

Calmy-Rey received only 106 out of 189 valid votes in the traditional endorsement vote by both houses of parliament, a sign of her lack of popularity in the wake of a diplomatic stand off with Libya, Swiss media said. There are 246 parliamentarians.

The previous low was held by Edmund Schulthess who obtained 136 votes in 1920.

Switzerland's presidency is rotated annually in turn among the seven members of the Federal Council or government, and is a largely honorific position.

The government has no prime minister.

The vice-presidency went to Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who is likely to take over as president in 2012.

© 2010 AFP

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