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Minister resigns, Swiss political shakeup possible

The Swiss interior minister says he will step down after October, possibly shaking up national politics. Pascal Couchepin's resignation statement was read out to Parliament Friday. It gave no reason for his departure after 11 years in the seven-member coalition government.

world Updated: Jun 12, 2009 15:43 IST

The Swiss interior minister says he will step down after October, possibly shaking up national politics. Pascal Couchepin's resignation statement was read out to Parliament Friday. It gave no reason for his departure after 11 years in the seven-member coalition government.

Couchepin, 67, was president in 2003 and 2008. He is a member of the pro-business Radical Democrats. They polled nearly equal with the Christian Democrats in 2007 elections, but have twice as many Cabinet spots.

The resignation could force another change of the 'magic formula' for sharing Cabinet posts.

After decades of stability, the makeup of the Cabinet changed twice this decade: in 2003 as the right-wing People's Party gained popularity, and in 2008 when other parties united against it.