ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland Defense Minister Samuel Schmid, long under pressure after a series of military scandals, resigned on Wednesday, citing health and family reasons after undergoing a gallstone operation.
Schmid had been weakened by the resignations of the chief of staff, over a sex scandal, and the head of the air force, over a rafting accident in which five service people died.
His exit frees up a place on Switzerland’s seven-member governing Federal Council. The right-wing SVP party — currently unrepresented there, although it is the largest group in parliament — said it would contest the election for the post, paving the way for a possible return for populist Christoph Blocher, a former justice minister.
Reporting by Sam Cage, editing by Mark Trevelyan