Bailot Rottet (44) in the Hotel du Beuf in Delsberg, about an hour before the Federal Council party really gets going. “I was so happy in Bern, we all won the election,” says the clerk.
Beat Michel and Amit Juillard
When at 10.24 a.m. Elisabeth Baume-Schneider from the Jurassic Federal Council was appointed, screams of joy echoed through the streets of Delsberg. It sounds as if the soccer team had scored a goal. The canton capital is over the moon. Things really get going in the traditional local Hotel du Boeuf. Right in the middle: the former President of the Constitutional and Cantonal Court, Jean Moritz. With tears in his eyes, he says to Blick: “It’s the fourth time I’ve been crying in my life. Once when the canton’s independence was first proclaimed, then twice when Moutier voted to secede from Bern. And now for the Federal Councilor.”
For the Jura, the election is an event of the century. “We have been waiting for 50 years to be represented in the Federal Council. Not just since 1979, when we became independent,” says Michel Cuenat (74). Retired farmer rejoices as if he won the lottery. He orders a round of red wine for the regulars’ table. Cuenat has been fighting for law for as long as he can remember. “It’s in our blood,” he says with tears in his eyes.
“Eli, elu, Elizabeth!”
The Hotel du Boeuf has a long tradition among the Jura socialists. «My grandfather was in the National Council for the SP. We have been running the pub under the Socialist star since 1912 – now in the fourth generation,” says Herbert Ludwig (72).
In the evening the place is packed. They celebrate in chorus: “Eli, elu, Elisabeth!” In German: «Eli, chosen, Elisabeth.» Many have just returned from Bern, including Baïlo Rotte (44). She waves the red and white flag of the Jura and sings. “We all won with the election. Because we all wobbed for it,” says the KV employee.
Although the canton has only 75,000 inhabitants – 12,500 of them in Delsberg – more than 200 traveled to Bern to support their Eli. “We owed that to the Jura and Elisabeth Baume-Schneider,” says Marie-Josée Poupon (69). She traveled to Bern with her husband Alphonse (73). “It’s the best thing that could have happened to us,” she says, beaming. Her husband agrees: “We have a great Federal Councilor. For the Jura, but also for Switzerland. She’s intelligent, committed and has the full support of the grassroots.”
A survey on the streets of Delsberg also shows how great the support is in the small canton. The young carpenter Morel Thibaut (22) says: “We are all a bit proud that one of us made it. I’ve seen Elisabeth many times, she’s one of us.” Like most of those interviewed, he has great hopes for the Federal Councilor from Jura. Most would like the completion of the Basel-Delsberg autobahn, better train connections and cheaper car insurance. In the small canton, it is in the upper end of the Swiss scale.
“We’re a happy bunch, that’s why we like to celebrate”
In the evening, the politicians of the canton government mingle with the celebrating people. Council President David Eray (49) says: “We do that in Jura. We celebrate together with our voters at eye level. We owe them everything.” Security and Justice Minister Nathalie Barthoulet (54) and Finance Minister Rosalie Beuret-Siss (44) also go through the pubs. “It is a historic event for the Jura. It would be weird if we didn’t celebrate.”
The mood in the more than 45 pubs in Delsberg is exuberant. “We’re a happy bunch, that’s why we like to celebrate,” says pensioner Michel Cuenat. Perhaps we will also bring joy to the whole of Switzerland with our Federal Councillor. Just as we saw Elisabeth Baume-Schneider on television today, she is always with us. Cheerful, competent and always positive. I wish her a good time as Federal Councilor. That she achieves everything she desires.”
After the party at the Hotel du Boeuf in Delsberg, the party continues in Les Breuleux, where the new Federal Councilor lives. Like the celebration after the vote on Moutier’s change of canton, the party will probably last a whole week. As befits the Jurassic.