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Former Swiss President Dies

June 22, 1998

GOSSAU, Switzerland (AP) _ Former Swiss President Ernst Brugger, who reached a European free trade deal for his country, has died. He was 84.

Brugger died Sunday at a nursing home in Grueningen, Switzerland, where he had lived since suffering a stroke two years ago, authorities in his hometown of Gossau said Monday. The cause of death was unavailable.

Brugger was born in 1914 in the southern town of Bellinzona and trained as a teacher before turning to politics.

He served on Zurich’s state government with the centrist Radical Party before being elected in 1969 to the country’s ruling seven-member coalition cabinet, the Federal Council.

He became president in 1974. The Swiss presidency rotates each year among the seven cabinet members.

Brugger concluded a free trade agreement between Switzerland and the European Economic Community during his time as economics minister

Brugger, also a major in the Swiss army, retired from the Swiss government in 1978.

A funeral service is expected to be held next week in Gossau, authorities said. Brugger is survived by five sons.

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