One year after vacancy, Swiss propose new attorney general

ZURICH (Reuters) - One year after Switzerland's top prosecutorial role was left vacant, a parliamentary body has proposed the head of Bern's cantonal police become Switzerland's new attorney general.

Parliament's judicial commission unanimously voted to put forward Stefan Blaettler, head of regional police in Switzerland's capital since 2006, as Switzerland's next lead federal prosecutor in a meeting on Wednesday.

"After an external evaluation process and a two-stage hearing process, in which around a dozen applications were reviewed, the Commission unanimously concluded that Mr. Blaettler has all the qualities needed for this office today," parliament's judicial commission said in a statement late on Wednesday.

Switzerland's former attorney general, Michael Lauber, resigned last summer, after a court decided he had covered up a meeting with FIFA boss Gianni Infantino and lied to supervisors while his office investigated corruption surrounding soccer's governing body and as a parliamentary impeachment case was underway.

Lauber had been attorney general since 2012.

Since last August, the role has been vacant as the parliamentary body tasked with selecting a candidate sifted through multiple rounds of applications without agreeing on the suitability of any of the previous candidates.

Noting Blaettler spoke all three of Switzerland's most widely spoken national languages as well as fluent English, the commission said Blaettler's many years of experience in law enforcement and "comprehensive leadership skills" made him well-equipped for the job.

"He also brings with him the necessary personal skills to head the Office of the Attorney General," the commission said.

Blaettler, who also teaches at the University of Bern's Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology, must first be voted in by parliament before becoming attorney general.

Parliament is set to vote on his appointment on Sept. 29.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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