Willi Ritschard

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Willi Ritschard (1983)
Federal Councilor Willi Ritschard visits the technical department of Swissair in 1974
Memorial plaque on the Grenchenberg

Willi Ritschard (born September 28, 1918 in Deitingen ; † October 16, 1983 on Grenchenberg ; resident in Oberhofen am Thunersee and Luterbach ) was a Swiss politician ( SP ) from the canton of Solothurn . As a Federal Councilor , he was first Minister of Transport, then Minister of Finance and once held the office of Federal President . He died in office 13 days after his resignation.

Political career

Willi Ritschard was elected to the local council of his residential community in Luterbach in 1943, and from 1947 he was also mayor. In 1945 he was elected to the Cantonal Council of the Canton of Solothurn , and in 1955 he was elected to the National Council. In 1963 he became Executive Council .

Ritschard was elected to the Federal Council on December 5, 1973 as a representative of the SP . A heating fitter by profession , he was the first and so far (as of July 2018) only worker in the Federal Council. During his tenure, he headed the following departments:

He was Federal President in 1978 and Vice President in 1977 and 1983. A few days after he announced his resignation on October 31, 1983, Willi Ritschard died unexpectedly of heart failure on October 16 while hiking over the Grenchenberg .

Election results in the Federal Assembly

  • 1973: Election to the Federal Council with 123 votes (absolute majority: 121 votes)
  • 1975: Re-election as Federal Council with 213 votes (absolute majority: 115 votes)
  • 1976: Elected Vice President of the Federal Council with 207 votes (absolute majority: 107 votes)
  • 1977: Election to the Federal President with 213 votes (absolute majority: 111 votes)
  • 1979: Re-election as Federal Council with 212 votes (absolute majority: 110 votes)
  • 1982: Election as Vice-President of the Federal Council with 156 votes (absolute majority: 102 votes)


Ritschard enjoyed great popularity among the population because of his popular, understandable and humorous language. Many of his sayings have become popular words in Switzerland, such as "The higher the monkey climbs, the better you can see your bottom." Collections of his quotes were already published during Ritschard's lifetime. The Swiss Federal Railways named one of their InterCity tilting trains , in which quotations from the eponymous personalities are placed above the windows, after Willi Ritschard, and in his place of residence in Luterbach there is Willi-Ritschard-Strasse.

Family and friends

Willi Ritschard was the son of Ernst Emil and Frieda Ritschard (née Ryf). His son Rolf Ritschard , also a politician (government councilor in the canton of Solothurn), died in 2007 under similar circumstances as Willi Ritschard on a walk. Ritschard was in close contact with the writer Peter Bichsel .

In 1982 the Zurich band Hertz published the short piece of music Willy Ritschard with the biography of Willi Ritschard as lyrical content. The first name Ritschard is incorrectly displayed in the title with y instead of the correct i. In addition, the names Ernst and Anna used in the song for the parents of Willi Ritschard were invented by the songwriter Dominique Grandjean ( Taxi ).


  • Willi Ritschard: Mr Federal Councilor Ritschard has the floor .... Bern: Benteli, 1975. ISBN 3-7165-0050-X
  • Willi Ritschard: Mr Ritschard again has the floor. Bern: Benteli, 1982. ISBN 3-7165-0408-4
  • Christian Fehr (Ed .: Peter Hablützel et al.): Willi Ritschard: Workers, trade unionists, social democrats, federal councilors. Hägendorf: Edition Gutenberg, 1983. ISBN 3-905485-00-1
  • Willi Ritschard in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely available)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jean-Maurice Lätt: Ritschard, Willi. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  2. Hertz: Willi Ritschard. (on Youtube). October 19, 2010, accessed September 27, 2018 .
  3. Thomas Wyss: "I trusted my dilettantism" . In: Tages-Anzeiger . April 12, 2019, p. 26-27 .
predecessor Office successor
Hans-Peter Tschudi Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Otto Stich