Marc Ruchet

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Marc Ruchet (ca.1900)

Marc-Émile Ruchet (born September 14, 1853 in Saint-Saphorin-sur-Morges , † July 13, 1912 in Bern , entitled to residency in Bex , mainly called Marc Ruchet ) was a Swiss politician ( FDP ). From 1882 to 1893 he was a member of the Grand Council of the Canton of Vaud , then until 1899 Vaud State Councilor . He represented this canton in the Council of States twice , from 1887 to 1893 and again from 1896 to 1899. In December 1899, Ruchet was elected to the Federal Council, of which he was a member until shortly before his death. In 1905 and 1911 he was Federal President .


Study and job

He was the son of the teacher Charles Ruchet and Lina Bäurlin. After the father took up a position at the Cantonal Bank of Vaud in 1861 , the family moved to Lausanne . Marc Ruchet attended the humanistic grammar school there. He then studied law at the Lausanne Academy, where he joined the left-wing liberal student union Helvetia . He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge La Liberté . He graduated in 1875 with a licentiate degree , which was followed by a stay abroad in Heidelberg . At Louis Ruchonnet he completed an internship with Eugène Luffy before he was admitted to the bar in 1878 and became a partner in Ruchonnet's law firm. After Ruchonnet was elected to the Federal Council in 1881 , he took over the firm. He was married to the painter Anna-Rosa Hartmann. In the Swiss Army he was a lieutenant colonel in the military justice department .

Cantonal and federal politics

Ruchet's political career began in 1882 when he was elected to the Grand Council of the Canton of Vaud . He was its president in 1887 and was a member until 1893. Also in 1887, the Grand Council elected him for the first time as a representative of Vaud in the Council of States . After a temporary resignation in 1893, he represented his canton in the Council of States again from 1896 to 1899. As a State Councilor , he was a member of the Cantonal Government of Vaud from 1894 to 1899, during which time he was in charge of education and church administration. He was involved in the introduction of the free kindergarten , sponsored libraries and museums and drafted a monument protection law that later served as a model for other cantons and states. Ex officio he sat on the board of directors of the Suisse-Occidentale-Simplon railway company from 1886 to 1888 and on that of the Jura-Simplon railway from 1890 to 1899 . He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cantonal Bank of Vaud and the Board of Directors of the Vaud Industry and Trade Association.

At the end of 1899 two seats in the Federal Council became vacant after both Adrien Lachenal and Eugène Luffy announced their resignation. While the choice of Robert Comtesse as Lachenal's successor was largely undisputed, Gustave Ador from Geneva was initially considered to be the most promising candidate to succeed Luffys. However, Ador declined to run for office. The Vaudois radicals quickly agreed on Ruchet, the confirmation of the candidacy by the FDP parliamentary group was purely a matter of form. On December 14, 1899, the replacement election took place by the Federal Assembly . In the first ballot, Ruchet received 124 of 167 valid votes; various other people received 43 votes. The Bündner Tagblatt commented that he had been an embarrassed candidate who was hardly known beyond the borders of his home canton.

Federal Council

Apart from brief interruptions, Ruchet mainly headed the Department of the Interior from 1900 to 1903, from 1906 to 1910 and 1912 . In 1904 he temporarily represented Comtesse in the finance and customs department . As Federal President in 1905 and 1911, in accordance with the customs of the time, he headed the Political Department and was thus Foreign Minister.

Important legal changes came into force during Ruchet's tenure. The Forest Police Act, which was revised in 1902, prescribed the preservation of forest cover throughout the country. With this law, which was considered exemplary across Europe, the landscapes were to be protected from increasing urbanization and, as a result, the national identity of Switzerland was preserved. In 1905, Ruchet took over the patronage of the newly founded organization Schweizer Heimatschutz , in addition he achieved an increase in cultural subsidies. As a Vaudois State Councilor, he had resisted the federal government's financial support for primary schools because he had viewed this as interference in the competence of the cantons. As Federal Councilor, he changed his stance and was able to convince those entitled to vote of the necessity of the bill, which was accepted on November 23, 1902 with 76.3% of the votes.

On July 5, 1908, Ruchet lost the vote when 63.5% of the people approved an initiative calling for a ban on absinthe . This appeared contradictory, especially since six years earlier the restriction on the free sale of alcohol had been rejected. In any case, Ruchet would have preferred to regulate a ban through the Food Act instead of at constitutional level. However, he implemented the will of the people and had an executive law drafted, which came into force in October 1910. In the same year, in view of the increasing automobile traffic, Ruchet wanted to give the federal government the authority to issue rules on road safety, but responsibility remained with the cantons until the 1930s.

In his years in office as Federal President and Foreign Minister, Ruchet was unable to set any particular accents. However, this corresponded to the usual practice at the time, since Swiss foreign policy was largely limited to the maintenance of trade relations. He himself advocated an end to the rotation principle, but the time was not yet ripe for it. In his first year of presidency fell the breakthrough of the Simplon tunnel and the opening of legations in Saint Petersburg and Tokyo . After the death of his wife in November 1909, Ruchet increasingly suffered from health problems and had to interrupt his office several times. He announced his resignation on July 9, 1912, and died four days later at the age of 58.


Web links

Commons : Marc Ruchet  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. P. 233.
  2. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. Pp. 233-234.
  3. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. Pp. 234-235.
  4. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. P. 235.
  5. ^ Anton Schuler: Forest. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . (Chapter 3.3 Forest Police Act and developments in the 20th century)
  6. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. P. 236.
  7. Referendum of November 23, 1902. , May 10, 2013, accessed on May 13, 2013 .
  8. Referendum of July 5, 1908., May 10, 2013, accessed on May 13, 2013 .
  9. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. Pp. 236-237.
  10. ^ Altermatt: The Federal Council Lexicon. P. 237.
predecessor Office successor
Eugène Luffy Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Camille Decoppet