Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz has suffered a major heart attack and had to be hospitalised. He was in Eastern Switzerland when he collapsed.

Later on Sunday he was flown by helicopter to Bern University Hospital where he was placed into an artificial coma. The Finance Minister underwent today a major bypass surgery and doctors say that he will have to remain in Intesive care for at least two weeks. As a result, the cabinet has been reorganised, with Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (Minister for Justice and Police) as the interim Finance Minister and Moritz Leuenberger (Transport Minister) as her deputy.

The Swiss President, Pascal Couchepin, announced that he would not be attending the UN General Assembly in New York and that the Cabinet would hold an extra-ordinary session.