Since the beginning of this year, Laura Dittli has been leader of the Christian Democratic People’s party (CVP), the youngest person ever to be the leader of any cantonal political party in the history of Zug.
The lawyer spoke about how she felt about holding this position and what plans she had for the future in an interview with journalist Zoe Gwerder.
When asked how she felt about leading the party board, she said she felt the goodwill and support of those who sat on the committee with her, though naturally with her being leader, and also the youngest member, it was a bit strange. “I recall the first meeting we had, with me taking the chair, yet not really knowing the format,” she admitted. What she found particularly challenging was having to interrupt her colleagues, though this is her job, of course; this she does, but always in a respectful way.
Asked if she felt she wished at times she were older, she said definitely not. “In fact I am not looking forward to being thirty,” she confessed. “Politics needs young people, and women, too, to get involved. I can imagine being a traditional woman politician when older, but I would always encourage young people to get involved and take on responsibility, too.”
When asked if this was why the CVP party had invited young people engaged in climate protection to participate in a meeting last week, she said this was partly the reason, reiterating her approval when young people get involved, adding that environment matters were a concern for her, too. It was with her cantonal parliamentary colleague and co-committee member Anna Bieri that she had wanted to keep abreast of current matters in this area.
Is commenting on current matter important to you?
“This is really our business, isn’t it? But it is a great challenge at the same time. Of course, there is no end to all the information available about long-term solutions, but you need to keep that closeness with the electorate, so you have to be able to react to matters of the day.”
As to this closeness with locals, it was mentioned how Dittli was involved in a number of local societies and chairwoman of the Oberägeri Harmonie Musik Association, for example, not to mention her sitting on the board of the Punkto Youth and Children’s organisation and the Zug Wind Instrument Association. How did she manage to remain involved in all these activities and still find time for her cantonal parliamentarian and party leadership duties, let alone her job?
“What is important is managing my dairy, though one has to remain flexible. One cannot allow oneself to become overwhelmed at the sight of all the appointments. What helps in my case is that I enjoy everything.”
As to her job, which she also enjoys, not least as she comes into a contact with a lot of people, she now works 90 per cent of a full-time job, adding how her employer was very understandable.
As to her private life, she mentioned how she had lots of friends and a partner, a footballer, who was equally busy. “Of course, my family is also important to me and I love spending time with my parents on their farm, particularly in summer. For me, it is like valuable time out, as it is when I am involved in music, too.”
When asked how she became interested in politics, she said that, as a student, she had always found it interesting to hear how laws came to be on the books, though until she became a candidate in the cantonal parliamentary elections in 2014, she had not been active. “It was Gerhard Pfister (the current leader of the national CVP party who represents Zug in the National Council (parliament) in Bern) who approached me and asked if I would like to be a candidate, which all sounded most exciting, though I had not expected to be elected quite so soon.”
Dittli was reminded that, in her early campaigning days, she had said she would one day like to be a member of the Federal Council, the Swiss government, though she admitted this was merely in answer to a provocative question. However, she did admit she could see herself involved in national politics at some time, though more as a member of the National Council than of the Federal Council. “I do not think you can actually plan political careers as you might plan those in other areas. Much has to do with luck and chance. I am not actually planning such a career. And I can imagine being a member of the Federal Council is a very tough job.”
As to what she would like to achieve as leader of the CVP, she said she would like to promote the party even further and make it more attractive to younger people. Being able to combine a job with family life was also important to her, with combined school and children’s day-care facilities becoming the norm.