Municipal Council (Switzerland)

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As council is in Switzerland, depending on the community either the executive body (communal executive) or the legislative body ( municipal council ), respectively.


In most of the smaller municipalities that do not have a parliament, the executive (and its members) is called the municipal council . They usually comprise five to nine members, one of the office of the mayor dressed (in some cantons also mayor or municipal captain called; the term "mayor" is in German Switzerland used only in historical context). The municipal councils mostly work part-time or on a voluntary basis, but in larger cities like Bern or Zurich they work full-time. Many small communities have a hard time finding enough candidates. In municipalities without a parliament, the municipal assembly takes on the role of the legislature. In most cantons, the municipal assembly is chaired by the municipality president. In the canton of Berne , however, a community assembly president is specially elected for this task, who exercises the office during a legislature .

Especially in cities in the canton of Bern , the executive branch is referred to as the municipal council and the legislative branch as the city council; in smaller municipalities the parliament is called the large municipal council. In the majority of the small communities in the canton of Zurich , the municipal council is the executive; in the larger cities, on the other hand (City of Zurich, City of Winterthur), the municipal council or large municipal council (Winterthur) is the legislature; the city council has the executive function here.

Most of the time, the municipal executive is elected by majority vote, but in some cities and municipalities such as Bern and Biel , according to the proportional system . In some municipalities, the municipality or city president is also elected by the people, in others the parliament takes on this task annually. A rotating procedure is usually common here.

The tasks and competencies of the municipal executive differ greatly. In many municipalities without a parliament there are commissions that perform some legislative, but also executive functions. Examples of this are finance commissions (mostly charged with drawing up the municipal budget) or the social welfare commission (which in some municipalities is responsible for awarding social welfare). In some municipalities, the executive has only the supervision and management of the administration as a task, while in others it is entrusted with administrative tasks itself.

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