Alain Berset (born 9 April 1972) is a Swiss politician serving as a Member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2012. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), he has served as head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs since his election.
From 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, he served as President of the Swiss Confederation; at age 45, Berset was the youngest officeholder since Marcel Pilet-Golaz in 1934. Before being elected to the Federal Council in 2011, he was a member of the Council of States for the canton of Fribourg (2003–2011), serving as the body’s president during the 2008–2009 term. Berset speaks Swiss German, Standard German, French, Italian, Romansh and English.
Born in Fribourg on 9 April 1972, the son of a teacher and a bookseller, Berset studied political science and economics at the University of Neuchâtel, where he received a master’s degree in political science in 1996 and a Ph.D in economics in 2005 with a dissertation about the role of international migration upon local working conditions.
Berset is married to Muriel Zeender Berset and is the father of three children. The family lives in Belfaux, a village near Fribourg.
Swiss Federal Council
On 14 December 2011, he was elected to the Swiss Federal Council with 126 votes out of 245, the seven-member Swiss federal government, as one of the Social Democratic Party’s two official candidates to succeed head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Micheline Calmy-Rey, who had resigned from the Federal Council. Berset became head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs as its former head Didier Burkhalter changed to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland, as head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, he is one of the leading figures of the government’s response.
Berset is the author of several books and some 30 articles on economic development, migration and regional development.