Elisabeth Kopp, who was the first woman to hold the position of a Swiss government minister, passed away on Friday at the age of 86, according to an announcement made by the Swiss government.
Kopp was elected to Switzerland’s seven-member Federal Council on October 2, 1984. Switzerland was one of the last nations in Europe to allow women to vote in national elections, therefore it was one of the first countries in the world to do so.
In January 1989, the “Kopp affair,” one of Switzerland’s worst political scandals, forced her to quit as minister of justice and police.
According to the official statement from the government, Kopp passed away on April 7 “after a long illness.”
“The Federal Council has learned with great sadness of the death of Elisabeth Kopp at the age of 86,” it stated in the statement after her passing was announced.
She made a significant contribution to the advancement of women’s rights and was the first woman to hold a seat in the Swiss government.
It was stated that her election to the Federal Council was “An important date… in the evolution of the status of women in Switzerland– 13 years after the introduction of women’s suffrage.” Her election was “An important date…” in the evolution of the status of women in Switzerland.
After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Kopp, who was originally from the canton of Zurich, moved to the city to study law. After the revolution in Hungary, she became dedicated to promoting democracy and human rights.
She was also an advocate for equal rights and the conservation of the environment.
Kopp entered the political arena at the age of 34, serving as a local councillor in the municipality of Zumikon, which is located outside of Zurich.
She was elected to the National Council, the lower chamber of parliament, in 1979 when she was a member of the Free Democratic Party, which is located to the center-right of the political spectrum.
In 1984, before being elected to a position in the administration by parliamentarians, she was elected to the position of deputy leader of the FDP.
She was forced to retire in 1989 after coming under severe fire from the media for having telephoned her husband to persuade him to stand down immediately as vice-president of Shakarchi Trading — after becoming aware of its suspected participation in money laundering. She had called her husband after receiving wind of the company’s alleged involvement in money laundering.
Her actions caused a public uproar to ensue.
Kopp has consistently denied any wrongdoing, whether it be moral or legal.
She was suspected of breaking official secrecy laws, but the Federal Court in 1990 found that there was insufficient evidence to convict her of the crime.
The event served as the basis for a number of novels and a film about a detective.
She first withdrew from public life, but she eventually emerged to voice her opinion on matters that were near and dear to her, including the promotion of women’s participation in political life.
In 1993, Ruth Dreifuss became the second woman to hold the position of government minister. In 1999, she was elected as Switzerland’s first ever female president. In 2010, for the first time ever, a majority of the seven seats in the Federal Council were held by women.
There are currently three females serving in ministerial positions in the government.
On Friday, Justice Minister Elisabeth Baume-Schneider referred to Kopp as “a pioneer for women in politics” in her remarks.