Pascal Couchepin

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Pascal Couchepin
Pascal Couchepin, 2009.jpg
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
In office
1 January 1998 – 1 November 2009
Preceded by Jean-Pascal Delamuraz
Succeeded by Didier Burkhalter
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2008 – 31 December 2008
Vice President Hans-Rudolf Merz
Preceded by Micheline Calmy-Rey
Succeeded by Hans-Rudolf Merz
In office
1 January 2003 – 31 December 2003
Vice President Ruth Metzler-Arnold
Preceded by Kaspar Villiger
Succeeded by Joseph Deiss
Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs
In office
1 January 2003 – 1 November 2009
Preceded by Ruth Dreifuss
Succeeded by Didier Burkhalter
Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs
In office
1 January 1998 – 31 December 2002
Preceded by Jean-Pascal Delamuraz
Succeeded by Joseph Deiss
Vice President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2007 – 31 December 2007
President Micheline Calmy-Rey
Preceded by Micheline Calmy-Rey
Succeeded by Hans-Rudolf Merz
In office
1 January 2002 – 31 December 2002
President Kaspar Villiger
Preceded by Kaspar Villiger
Succeeded by Ruth Metzler
Personal details
Born (1942-04-05) 5 April 1942 (age 72)
Martigny, Switzerland
Political party Free Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Brigitte Rendu
Children 3
Alma mater University of Lausanne
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism

Pascal Couchepin (born 5 April 1942 in Martigny, Valais) is a Swiss politician, former member of the Swiss Federal Council (1998–2009) and President of the Confederation in 2003 and 2008. He headed the Federal Department of Home Affairs (Swiss interior ministry) from 2003 to 2009.

He was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 11 March 1998 as a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) and the canton of Valais. In 1998 he took over the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, in which position he fought against the Swiss government contributing any money to the $1.25 billion settlement between Swiss banks and Holocaust survivors. He was quoted as saying that "there is no reason for the Swiss Government to pay anything", as a government commission had shown "we did what was possible in the hard times of the war.".[1] In 2003 he moved to the Federal Department of Home Affairs.

He was the President of the Confederation in 2003. On 13 December 2006, he was elected vice-president of the Federal Council for 2007, and, on 12 December 2007 was elected President of the Confederation in 2008.

Previously, he had been Deputy Mayor (1976) and Mayor of Martigny (since 1984) and, from 1979 to 1998, member of the National Council.

Couchepin holds a DEA's degree in Law from the University of Lausanne, is father of three (2 daughters and a son) and has two grandchildren.

During the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, he stated the Pope's speech was "intelligent and necessary."[2]

On 12 June 2009, Couchepin announced his resignation from the Federal Council effective 31 October 2009.[3] This led to an election to fill his vacated seat.

Pascal Couchepin is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law. It does so by making available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders to today’s national leaders. It is a not-for-profit organization composed of former heads of government, senior governmental and international organization officials who work closely with Heads of Government on governance-related issues of concern to them.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Pascal Delamuraz
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
1998–2009
Succeeded by
Didier Burkhalter
Preceded by
Kaspar Villiger
President of Switzerland
2003
Succeeded by
Joseph Deiss
Preceded by
Micheline Calmy-Rey
President of Switzerland
2008
Succeeded by
Hans-Rudolf Merz