Authorities and policy
Basel is a city state, a democratic system that works very well. Government, parliament and public administration all play their part in maintaining Basel’s wealth.
The Executive Council (Regierungsrat) consists of seven members, and is the government of both the Canton of Basel-Stadt and the City of Basel. Its members are elected by the people every four years.
For the legislative period from 2009 to 2013, the elected members of the Executive Council are President Guy Morin (Green Party), Eva Herzog (Socialist Party), Christoph Brutschin (Socialist Party), Hans-Peter Wessels (Socialist Party), Hanspeter Gass (Liberal Party), Carlo Conti (Christian People’s Party) and Christoph Eymann (Liberal Democrat Party).
The Great Council
The legislative, the Great Council is the parliament of both the canton of Basel-Stadt and of Basel municipality. Its 100 members are elected every four years. The Great Council meets at the Rathaus (Town Hall); its meetings are public. Executive, legislature, and senior members of the cantonal judiciary are all elected by those entitled to vote.
Basel’s administration is divided into seven departments, each presided over by a member of the Executive Council: The Department of Presidential Affairs is responsible for cross-departmental issues such as culture, external affairs and marketing, urban development, equal opportunities and integration, as well as statistics and communication (state chancellery). The President of the Executive Council also acts as representative for the government. The other departments are the Department of Health (hospitals, health, prevention), the Department of Education (education, youth, family, sport), the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs (economy, labour, social assistance, insurance, energy), the Department of Justice and Security (police, law, migration, prevention of violence, ambulances, fire brigade), the Department of Public Works and Transport (building, civil engineering, green spaces, transport) and the Department of Finance (budget and financial planning, taxation, real estate and computer science).
Two of the three levels of jurisdiction are run by the cantons: the first level of civil, criminal and administrative law, and the new court for social insurance. The second level is the court of appeal. All judges are elected by the people.
Cantonal representation at federal level
At federal level, Switzerland has a two-chamber parliament; joint meetings of the two chambers form the Federal Assembly. The Ständerat, the Upper Chamber, represents the cantons; the Nationalrat, the Lower Chamber (equivalent to the US House of Representatives or the French Chamber of Deputies), represents the population at large. Each canton has two representatives in the Council of State, while the canton’s population determines the number of its representatives in the Lower Chamber.
As a half-canton, Basel-Stadt has only a single member in the Upper Chamber. In the House of Representatives, it has five delegates. The members for Basel in both chambers of parliament were elected for a four-year term in October 2011. For the legislative period from 2011 to 2015, the Basel-Stadt representative in the Council of State is once again Anita Fetz (Social Party). For the same legislative period, Basel-Stadt is represented in the Lower Chamber by Sebastian Frehner (SVP), Beat Jans (Social Party), Markus Lehmann (CVP, new), Peter Malama (Liberal Party) and Silvia Schenker (Social Party).