Ignazio Cassis

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Ignazio Cassis
Ignazio Cassis(2).jpg
25th Vice President of Switzerland
Assumed office
1 January 2021
PresidentGuy Parmelin
Preceded byGuy Parmelin
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
1 November 2017
Preceded byDidier Burkhalter
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Assumed office
1 November 2017
Preceded byDidier Burkhalter
Personal details
Born (1961-04-13) 13 April 1961 (age 60)
Sessa, Switzerland
Political partyFDP.The Liberals
Spouse(s)Paola Cassis
Alma materUniversity of Zürich
University of Lausanne

Ignazio Cassis (Italian pronunciation: [iɲˈɲattsjo ˈkassis]; born 13 April 1961) is a Swiss physician and politician serving as a Member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2017.

A member of FDP.The Liberals, he was elected to the Federal Council on 20 September 2017. He has served since 1 November 2017 as head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. On 1 January 2021, he assumed office as the Vice President of Switzerland under President Guy Parmelin.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Cassis studied medicine at the University of Zurich until 1987. He subsequently specialized in internal medicine and public health, and received his master in public health in 1996. Cassis was awarded a doctorate in medicine (Dr. med., MD) from the University of Lausanne in 1998. He was a cantonal doctor in Ticino from 1996 to 2008 and vice president of the Foederatio Medicorum Helveticorum (FMH, literally "Swiss Medical Association") from 2008 to 2012.[2]

Residing in the canton of Ticino, Cassis served in the National Council from 4 June 2007 to 30 October 2017 where he was affiliated with FDP.The Liberals.[3]

Federal Council[edit]

Cassis (left) shakes hands with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in February 2019

When Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter announced his retirement in 2017, Cassis was one of the three candidates the FDP chose to replace him, the other two being Isabelle Moret (a National Councillor from Vaud) and Pierre Maudet (a cantonal official from Geneva and former Mayor of Geneva).[4] Cassis was considered the favourite to succeed Burkhalter.[4]

In the election, held on 20 September 2017, the Federal Assembly elected Cassis to the Federal Council in the second round by taking 125 of 244 valid votes, becoming the 117th Federal Councilor since 1848.[5][6][7][8] He was supported by the centre-right and right-wing parties in the assembly.[8] Cassis became the first Federal Councillor from Ticino since 1999.[7][8] The Swiss press generally commented positively on Cassis's election.[9][10]

Cassis took office on 1 November 2017 as head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, succeeding Didier Burkhalter.[1][11][12] He caused some controversy shortly after his election when the media reported that he addressed and joined ProTell, a gun-rights advocacy group, nine days before his election, something that might have made his relationship with the EU difficult as foreign minister due to discussions over joint gun policy.[13] Cassis ended his membership in ProTell and other gun-rights organisations shortly afterward.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Cassis was born to Mariarosa and Gino at the Malcantonese Hospital of Castelrotto, Ticino. He has three sisters, two older and one younger than himself.[14][15] Born in Sessa, Ticino, he is a citizen of Biasca.[3] Cassis entered late into politics, as an outsider in his forties.[14] In the Swiss military, he was a battalion physician in the staff of the Ticino mountain troopers and later a member of the chief field physician's staff. Cassis is married to Paola Cassis and lives in Montagnola.[3][15]

At his birth, Cassis was an Italian citizen. In 1976 he was naturalised in Switzerland and had to give up his Italian passport. In 1991 he became a dual citizen of Switzerland and Italy. During his Federal Council candidacy in 2017, Cassis renounced his Italian citizenship.[16]


  1. ^ a b Quiquerez, Florent (1 November 2017). "Ignazio Cassis au pied du mur européen". 24Heures (in French). ISSN 1424-4039. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  2. ^ SRF Tagesschau Hauptausgabe 20 September 2017
  3. ^ a b c "Ignazio Cassis". parlament.ch. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b Chandrasekhar, Anand (19 September 2017). "Who Will Become the Next Swiss Cabinet Minister?". Swissinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  5. ^ "ELETTO IGNAZIO CASSIS" (in Italian). ticinonews.ch. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  6. ^ "FOKUS: Der Tessiner Ignazio Cassis ist neuer Bundesrat" (in German). 10vor10. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Ignazio Cassis is Elected Switzerland's New Federal Councillor". The Local. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Geiser, Urs (20 September 2017). "Cassis Chosen as Switzerland's New Cabinet Minister". Swissinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Press Welcomes Cassis Election to Federal Council". The Local. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  10. ^ Stephens, Thomas (21 September 2017). "Election of Cassis 'Positive' and 'Smart', Say Papers". Swissinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  11. ^ "New Federal Councillor Cassis Inherits Foreign Ministry". The Local. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Cassis to Take Over Foreign Ministry". Swissinfo. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Future Swiss Foreign Minister Quits Gun Lobby Groups". Swissinfo. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b "In breve" (in Italian). ignaziocassis.ch. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  15. ^ a b Philipp Mäder (20 September 2017). "Die stolzen Schwestern von Bundesrat Cassis" (in German). Schweizer Illustrierte. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  16. ^ "FDP-Bundesratskandidat Cassis gibt italienischen Pass zurück". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). 25 August 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Didier Burkhalter
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs