Switzerland`s parliament on Wednesday elected Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz as the country`s president for 2009, according to Xinhua.

    The 66-year-old minister received 185 out of 209 valid votes. He will succeed Pascal Couchepin, the current president and interior minister.

    The president has a mainly ceremonial role, which is usually rotated annually among the seven cabinet members. The president retains his or her portfolio.

    Meanwhile, the parliament also elected Economy Minister Doris Leuthard as vice president and right-wing leader Ueli Maurer as the new defense minister.

    Maurer will take over the portfolio of Samuel Schmid, who resigned last month under considerable pressure over his handling of army affairs.