Swiss candidate for the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly: former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss

Bern, Press release, 17.09.2009

The Federal Council has decided to present former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss as a candidate for the presidency of the 65th United Nations General Assembly from September 2010 to September 2011. Mr Deiss has declared his willingness to stand as a candidate.

It will be the turn of the “Western Group” to provide the rotating presidency of the 65th UN General Assembly; the period of office will last from September 2010 to September 2011. The Federal Council has proposed an outstanding candidate for the post of president of the General Assembly in the person of former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss, and it welcomes Mr Deiss’ willingness to make himself available to stand as a candidate.  

Together with the United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly is the most important body of the United Nations. The presidency of the General Assembly is a demanding and very prestigious position. It would be a great honour for Switzerland if Joseph Deiss were to be elected.

The president is normally elected through a procedure in which the regional group agrees on one candidate from a list of candidates, and presents its choice in the form of a single candidate to the General Assembly for approval. As a rule, the General Assembly approves the proposal by acclamation. The election takes place in the summer before the General Assembly session, in this case in summer 2010.

Former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss was President of the Swiss Confederation in 2004. He was head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to the end of 2002, and in this capacity led the successful campaign on Switzerland’s accession to the United Nations. He subsequently moved to the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, which he headed until he retired in 2006.

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