She was elected President of the Confederation for 2010.
Leuthard was a member of the Swiss National Council from 1999 to 2006 and President of the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) (2004 � 2006).
Following the resignation of Joseph Deiss from the Swiss Federal Council, Leuthard was elected as his successor on 14 June 2006. She received 133 out of 234 valid votes, and became the 109th member (and fifth woman) of the Federal Council. Her election represented a departure from a long precedent of replacing a member of the Federal Council with someone from the same language group. While Deiss was a French speaker, Leuthard is a German speaker.
In 2009, Leuthard was elected Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, virtually assuring her election as president in 2010. Due to a large amount of turnover on the Council in recent years, she was the longest-serving councilor not to have served as president.
As President of the Confederation, Leuthard presided over meetings of the Federal Council and carries out representative functions that would normally be handled by a head of state in other democracies (though in Switzerland, the Federal Council as a whole is regarded as the head of state). She is also the highest-ranking official in the Swiss order of precedence, and can act on behalf of the whole Council in emergency situations. However, in most cases, Leuthard is merely primus inter pares, with no power above and beyond her six colleagues.
Following a reshuffle of portfolios after the by-election of two new councilors in 2010, Leuthard replaced outgoing Moritz Leuenberger at the head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.