Ignazio Cassis

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Ignazio Cassis
Official portrait, 2023
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2022 – 31 December 2022
Vice PresidentAlain Berset
Preceded byGuy Parmelin
Succeeded byAlain Berset
Vice President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 2021 – 31 December 2021
PresidentGuy Parmelin
Preceded byGuy Parmelin
Succeeded byAlain Berset
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
Ignazio Daniele Giovanni Cassis

(1961-04-13) 13 April 1961 (age 62)
Sessa, Ticino, Switzerland
Political partyFDP.The Liberals
SpousePaola Rodoni
Residence(s)Montagnola, Ticino
Alma materUniversity of Zurich
University of Lausanne

Ignazio Daniele Giovanni Cassis (Italian pronunciation: [iɲˈɲattsjo ˈkassis]; born 13 April 1961) is a Swiss physician and politician who has been a Member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1 November 2017. A member of FDP.The Liberals, Cassis was elected to the Federal Council on 20 September 2017 following the resignation of Didier Burkhalter. He has headed the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs since he took office. On 8 December 2021, Cassis was elected President of the Swiss Confederation for 2022.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Cassis was born to Italian parents in Sessa, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. He studied medicine at the University of Zurich until 1987. He subsequently specialised in internal medicine and public health; he received his master's degree 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]

National Council[edit]

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 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington in February 2019
The 2022 Federal Council, the year Cassis was president
Cassis with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in 2022

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 Councillor 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.[11][12][13] 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.[14] Cassis ended his membership in ProTell and other gun rights organisations shortly afterward.[14]

In 2021 Cassis served as Vice President of Switzerland. On 8 December 2021, he was elected President of Switzerland for the year 2022. He assumed the office on 1 January 2022 succeeding Guy Parmelin.

In 2022, as president of the Swiss confederation, Cassis took a leading role to redefine Swiss neutrality in light of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. In a delicate balance between a failed agreement towards the EU proposed framework accord and Swiss national interests, he has taken sides with the EU with regard to international sanctions during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[15] On 20 October, Cassis made an official visit to Ukraine, meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.[16]

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.[17][18] Born in Sessa, Ticino, he is a citizen of Biasca.[3] Cassis entered late into politics, as an outsider in his forties.[17] 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][18] At 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.[19]


  1. ^ "Amtliches Bulletin". www.parlament.ch. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  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. Archived from the original on 21 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. ^ Quiquerez, Florent (1 November 2017). "Ignazio Cassis au pied du mur européen". 24Heures (in French). ISSN 1424-4039. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  12. ^ "New Federal Councillor Cassis Inherits Foreign Ministry". The Local. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Cassis to Take Over Foreign Ministry". Swissinfo. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Future Swiss Foreign Minister Quits Gun Lobby Groups". Swissinfo. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Switzerland calls for return of Crimea to Ukraine". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  16. ^ "'Kyiv already feels cold', says Swiss president on visit". Swissinfo. 21 October 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  17. ^ a b "In breve" (in Italian). ignaziocassis.ch. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  18. ^ a b Philipp Mäder (20 September 2017). "Die stolzen Schwestern von Bundesrat Cassis" (in German). Schweizer Illustrierte. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  19. ^ "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 Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs
Preceded by Vice President of Switzerland
Succeeded by
President of Switzerland