Eugène Luffy

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Eugène Luffy

Eugène Luffy (born August 2, 1854 in Lutry ; † October 25, 1919 in Bern ; resident in Lutry and Riex ) was a Swiss politician ( FDP ) and lawyer . From 1882 to 1885 he was a member of the parliament of the canton of Vaud , and then of the State Council , where he played a key role in founding the University of Lausanne . Also in 1882 he was elected to the National Council. At the end of 1893 he was elected to the Federal Council , to which he was a member for six years. He was then director of the Universal Postal Union until his death . His father Victor Luffy was also a member of the Federal Council in 1868/69, his grandson Victor Luffy was a member of the National Council.


Studies, work and family

At the time of birth, Luffy's father was a member of the State Council of the Canton of Vaud . He was elected to the Federal Council in 1868 , but died after a short time in office. His son Eugène was then 15 years old and lived with the rest of the family in Bern . After graduating from high school, he began to study law at the Lausanne Academy . Further stations during his studies were the universities in Leipzig , Heidelberg and Paris . Membership in the then left-wing liberal student union Helvetia shaped his political convictions. In 1877 he graduated with a licentiate and began to work as an intern in the law firm of Louis Ruchonnet . He was admitted to the bar three years later . In 1886 he married the French Alice Mégroz, the daughter of a silk merchant from Lyon ; with her he had five sons and four daughters.

Cantonal and federal politics

Luffy began his political career at the age of 28 on the side of the radicals. After his godfather Ruchonnet had been elected to the Federal Council, he ran for the by-election on January 22, 1882 for the vacant seat in the constituency of Vaud East and prevailed against the moderate liberal Louis Rambert . A few weeks after entering the National Council , he was also successful in the election of the Grand Council , the parliament of the canton of Vaud . At the cantonal level, Luffy developed into one of the leading figures of the radicals. In the debates about a revision of the canton's constitution, he passionately advocated the introduction of the constitutional initiative. He got into such a violent argument with the theologian Charles Secrétan that he asked him to duel (but without putting this threat into practice).

In 1885 Luffy was elected to the Vaud State Council . He then took over the education and culture department, and in 1887 he officiated as district president. The most important event of his tenure was the establishment of the University of Lausanne in 1890 , which emerged from the old academy. With the appointment of the economist Vilfredo Pareto , he was able to establish the new university as an important educational institution. Luffy created a new middle school law, free school supplies, and a progressive tax on movable capital.

Federal Councilor Ruchonnet died unexpectedly in September 1893. He had previously quietly built Luffy as his successor, so that the Vaudois Radicals nominated him as a candidate. This type of nepotism met with little enthusiasm in German-speaking Switzerland. Only the Bernese Liberals protested, but decided not to run. The press scoffed at the "old trainee at the Ruchonnet office" and speculated that after Karl Schenk's resignation in the foreseeable future, the Bernese would have to rely on the votes of the Vaudois to get their own candidate through. On December 14, 1893, only the Vaudois Radicals and the Catholic Conservatives elected the official candidate to some extent, while the Radical Democratic faction (later the FDP ) was deeply divided. Luffy received 87 out of 148 valid votes in the first ballot (30 ballot papers were blank or invalid). On Robert Comtesse accounted for 17 votes, at Paul Cérésole 10 votes and more people 34 votes. Until Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was elected in 2007, Luffy was the only descendant of a Federal Councilor who also held this office.

Federal Council

When he took office on January 1, 1894, the discord surrounding his election had an effect, so that Luffy could never grow beyond the role of a placeholder and stopgap. From his predecessor Ruchonnet, he initially took over the chairmanship of the Justice and Police Department . To make room for Eduard Müller from Bern , he had to move to the Department of the Interior in 1895 , which he headed until 1897. In 1898 he was Federal President and in this role he headed the Political Department on a rotating basis . In 1899 he took over the management of the military department . Due to the constant change, he was hardly able to set sustainable accents.

Eugène Luffy (1854–1919) politician, lawyer and director of the Universal Postal Union
Eugène Luffy

As Minister of Justice, Luffy prepared the standardization of criminal law; He also advocated an amendment to the constitution which enabled the establishment of a state bank and served as the basis for the introduction of the banknote monopoly . As Minister of the Interior, he advocated the introduction of compulsory health and accident insurance at the federal level, but resisted calls for the introduction of a proportional voting system . During his presidential year, among other things, he led the festivities for the inauguration of the National Museum Zurich . Despite previous concerns, he supported his colleague Josef Zemp on the issue of railway nationalization. During his tenure as Federal President, the Austrian Empress Elisabeth was assassinated in Geneva on September 10, 1898 .

Universal Postal Union

Since he could hardly stay in a department for long, Luffy felt increasingly frustrated. On October 31, 1899, he formally submitted his resignation from the state government at the end of the year. On the same day he was elected by his counterparts as the new director of the international office of the Universal Postal Union . Financial considerations may also have played a role: The Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that the Universal Postal Director earns 18,000 francs a year, whereas a Federal Council only earns 12,000. Luffy took up his new office on January 1, 1894 and held it until his death. In 1900 and 1909 he was vice-president of the Universal Postal Congress . On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the University of Lausanne, he received an honorary doctorate in 1915 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Salvi, Altermatt: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 211.
  2. ^ Salvi, Altermatt: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 211-212.
  3. ^ Salvi, Altermatt: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 212.
  4. That was Widmer-Schlumpfs political career. Swiss Radio and Television , December 17, 2015, accessed on April 17, 2019 .
  5. ^ A b Salvi, Altermatt: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 213.
  6. ^ Salvi, Altermatt: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 213-214.
predecessor Office successor
Louis Ruchonnet Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Marc Ruchet
Edmund Höhn Director of the International Office of the Universal Postal Union
Camille Decoppet