Central Switzerland, 14.06.2019

Lawyers and their roles in central Swiss cantonal governments


Apart from the canton of Lucerne, among all the other central Swiss cantonal governments, each one has a member who is a lawyer, and in some cases, two.



In Zug, the legal profession is represented in Heinz Tännler (SVP), the cantonal director of finance and former head of planning. While Beat Villiger (CVP), who heads the Department of Justice, is not a qualified lawyer, he has much experience in legal matters through his former job as notary public and secretary to Baar council.


There are two lawyers currently sitting on the cantonal government of Obwalden, namely Christian Schäli of the CSP party (second from the left in the photograph) and Daniel Wyler of the SVP party (in the striped tie). However, neither is responsible for the Department of Justice, which is the responsibility of Christoph Amstad of the CVP party (on the extreme left in the photograph), an expert in financial planning. Wyler heads the Department of Economic Development while Schäli is in charge of education. While on Obwalden, of note here is that the cantonal government is made up of five members, as is that of Lucerne, whereas all other central Swiss cantonal governments are made up of seven members.


In other cantons, too, it is not necessarily the qualified lawyers who are responsible for justice. In the canton of Uri, for example, lawyer Urs Janett of the FDP party is responsible for finance, with teacher and political scientist Heidi Z’graggen of the CVP party responsible for justice.


Meanwhile, over in Schwyz, the Department of Justice is headed by André Rüegsegger of the SVP party, the sole representative of the legal profession in the cantonal government there.


In Nidwalden, the Department of Justice is headed by Karin Kayser of the CVP party, an expert in fruit-growing and viticulture; the only lawyer in the cantonal government there is Michèle Blöchliger of the SVP party, who is responsible for health and social affairs.


Of note is that, within the Federal Council, too, a qualified lawyer does not necessarily head the Federal Office of Justice, which is headed by interpreter and teacher Karin Keller-Suter of the FDP.


It is former lawyer Viola Amherd of the CVP party who currently heads the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, the first woman in the history of the Swiss Confederation to do so.