GENEVA — Switzerland’s parliament on Wednesday selected Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis to become the rich Alpine country’s next president on New Year’s Day.
Cassis, the first president from Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region this century, will succeed President Guy Parmelin on Jan. 1. Parmelin hosted a Russia-U.S. summit in Geneva in June, and his tenure also saw a souring of Switzerland’s crucial relationship with its giant neighbor, the European Union.
In May, the Swiss government pulled out of years-long negotiations on a comprehensive package of bilateral accords with the EU after the two sides failed to reach agreement on the cross-border movement of jobseekers and other key issues. Switzerland has more than 100 bilateral treaties with the EU.
Cassis, who has a medical degree and practiced as a doctor specializing in internal medicine, is a fluent speaker of German, French and Italian, Switzerland’s three main languages.