Albert Meyer (politician, 1870)

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Albert Meyer

Albert Meyer (born March 13, 1870 in Fällanden ; † October 22, 1953 in Zurich ; legal resident in Fällanden and Zurich) was a Swiss politician ( FDP ) and journalist . After completing his studies, he worked for a short time as a civil servant before moving to the editorial office of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 1897 . There he took over the management of the commercial department and was editor-in-chief from 1915 . From 1907 to 1927 he was a member of the Grand City Council of Zurich, and in 1915 he was elected to the National Council . After he was elected to the Federal Council, Meyer initially headed the Department of the Interior from 1930 . In 1934 he took over the management of the finance and customs department . As finance minister, he resisted the devaluation of the Swiss franc , but in 1936 (when he was Federal President ) he had to submit to the majority decision of the Federal Council. He strove for a permanent reorganization of the federal finances, but only managed a provisional solution and resigned at the end of 1938.


Study and job

He was the second child of the farmer Johann Jakob Meyer, of the Cantonal Council of the Canton of Zurich was sitting and also mayor of Fällanden was. Albert Meyer attended primary and secondary school in his birthplace, then the canton school in Zurich . After passing his Matura , he studied law and economics at the universities of Zurich , Berlin and Leipzig . He received his doctorate in 1895 and began to work as the financial secretary of the city of Zurich. After only two years he ended his civil service career and moved to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung . In the editorial office, he immediately took over the management of the commercial department. In 1900 he married Elisabeth von Orelli, the daughter of the district forest master of Zurich, Kaspar Adolf von Orelli. After 18 years as an editor , he was appointed editor -in- chief in 1915 , replacing the late Walter Bissegger .

In the Swiss Army , Meyer was a lieutenant colonel in the infantry . From 1926 to 1930 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Dispatch Agency .

Cantonal and federal politics

Meyer's political career began in 1907 when he was elected a member of the Grand City Council of Zurich - an office he held until 1927. After Bissegger's death, his seat on the National Council became vacant. The by-election in the constituency of Zurich-Southwest took place on June 27, 1915, and Meyer was the only official candidate to make the election effortlessly. In the National Council, he mainly dealt with finance, currency and economic policy. In order to curb the abuses in emissions that were common at the time , he successfully campaigned for a registration office. Although he sought a compromise with the Social Democrats , he vigorously opposed the popular initiative for the one-time property levy ; He was also hostile to the free economy . From 1923 to 1929 Meyer was party president of the FDP Switzerland, and from 1927 to 1929 he was also a member of the Bank Council and the Bank Committee of the Swiss National Bank .

With the resignation of Robert Haab and the death of Karl Scheurer , there were two vacancies in the Federal Council in 1929 , which gave the opportunity to expand the party-political composition. It was largely undisputed that the farmers, trade and citizens' party would receive one of these seats ( Rudolf Minger was elected ). In contrast, the FDP vehemently opposed the Social Democrats' entry into the state government. While the SP put up a serious candidate in Emil Klöti , the city president of Zurich, the FDP found it difficult to find a candidate and, after a long search, agreed on the Zurich Council of States Oskar Wettstein . Since he belonged to the democratic wing of the party, he was rejected by some of the German-speaking Swiss Liberals and the French-speaking Swiss. In the Federal Council election on December 12, 1929, Wettstein received 91 votes in the first ballot, Klöti 60 and the non-nominated Meyer 81.The latter took the lead in the second ballot, did not give it up and finally sat in the fourth ballot with 112 to 87 votes against Wettstein. After a day to think about it, he accepted the election.

Federal Council

Fountain sculpture by Walter Hürlimann (1934–2005).  In memory of the honorary citizen Albert Meyer (1870–1953) politician.  Location, parish of Fällanden, Zurich
Fountain sculpture,
Fällanden parish square

Meyer was from January 1, 1930 in front of the Department of the Interior . During the global economic crisis he was able to achieve little in this office, especially since culture and science played a secondary role in view of the numerous financial and economic problems. After Heinrich Häberlin and Jean-Marie Musy had resigned as a result of the defeat in the referendum on the tightening of the state protection provisions of federal law ( Lex Häberlin II), Meyer took the opportunity on May 1, 1934, the management of the significantly more influential finance and To take over customs departments - at a time when the crisis in Switzerland was only approaching its climax. He saw the gold standard and stable exchange rates as essential to overcome deflation , which is why he clearly rejected the devaluation of the Swiss franc demanded by the export industry . He was in contrast to his official and party colleague Edmund Schulthess .

In 1936 Meyer served as Federal President , but suffered a serious political defeat in his presidential year. After France devalued the franc on September 24, it was no longer able to maintain its resistance. Two days later, the Federal Council decided with five to two votes to devalue the franc by 30%; only Johannes Baumann shared Meyer's view. The Federal President had to subordinate his personal concerns to the majority decision and explain them to the public on the radio on September 27th. Only three weeks later, however, he was able to announce in another radio address that the military loan under his patronage had been oversubscribed by two and a half times .

A reform of the financial system was intended to replace various provisional regulations that had been in place since 1915. In 1935, after intensive deliberations, Meyer initially presented a limited financial program that provided for an increase in the war tax and cuts in federal contributions and civil servants' wages. Against the opposition of the SP, the National Council and Council of States accepted this proposal in January 1936. Meyer now set about finding a definitive solution and striving for the broadest possible basis for a consensus. However, the new proposal failed on June 24, 1938 in the National Council with a chance majority of 60 to 61 votes, with over a third of the council members either not being present or abstaining from voting. An interim solution that was then worked out, limited to three years, was approved by both councils four months later.

further activities

Fountain sculpture by Walter Hürlimann (1934–2005) for Albert Meyer (1870–1953) politician.  Location, parish of Fällanden, Zurich
Inscription on the base of the sculpture, Fällanden

After the corresponding federal resolution had also been clearly adopted in a referendum on November 27, 1938, Meyer saw his task as done and on December 6 announced his resignation for the end of the year. He moved back to Zurich, where he was a member of the management committee of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung until 1944. For a while he also presided over the Gottfried Keller Foundation . Politically, he was active as a speaker at party events, in 1941 he appeared as an opponent of the popular initiative to reorganize the alcohol system. From 1946 he suffered from a serious illness and had to be looked after by his niece. He died in October 1953 and was buried in the Fluntern cemetery in Zurich ; his grave has been lifted.

Meyer was an honorary citizen of Fällanden. The bronze sculpture erected in his honor by the artist Walter Hürlimann (1899–1979), who is entitled to live in Hombrechtikon, was cast using the lost wax technique ( Cera persa ) near Brotal in Mendrisio .


  • Marc Tribelhorn, Alfred Cattani : Albert Meyer . In: Urs Altermatt (Ed.): Das Bundesratslexikon . NZZ Libro , Zurich 2019, ISBN 978-3-03810-218-2 , p. 338-343 .
  • Alfred Cattani: Albert Meyer, editor-in-chief of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung from 1915 to 1930, Federal Councilor from 1930 to 1938 . In: Personality and Newspaper . tape V . Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 1992.

Web links

Commons : Albert Meyer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 338.
  2. ^ Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 339.
  3. ^ Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 340.
  4. ^ Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 340-341.
  5. ^ Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 341-342.
  6. ^ Tribelhorn, Cattani: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 342.
predecessor Office successor
Robert Haab Member of the Swiss Federal Council
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