City Council of Zurich
The municipal council is the parliament of the city of Zurich . As a legislature, it is the highest legislative authority in the city. Its 125 members are elected for four years in nine constituencies using proportional representation . The meetings of the municipal council usually take place every Wednesday evening (except during school holidays). The council meets in the town hall of Zurich. The last general renewal election took place on March 4, 2018. The 35th legislature began on May 16, 2018. It lasts until May 2022.
A parliament in the modern sense with a separation of powers has existed in the city of Zurich since 1831. In the same year, a municipal law and municipal ordinance were passed that provided for a parliament with a control function over the executive. In the 19th century, the local council (then: Great City Council) met rarely. The municipal assembly made the important decisions by 1892. With the incorporation of 1893, the city council took over part of the functions of the community assembly. This year the initiative and the referendum were also introduced as direct democratic instruments. The legislatures have been counted since 1893. In 1934 the Great City Council was renamed the City Council.
According to Art. 41 of the Municipal Code of the City of Zurich, the municipal council has the following tasks:
- Setting the budget and the tax rate: One of the most important competencies of the municipal council is the annual setting of the budget for the city of Zurich. The city has a budget of around 8 billion Swiss francs. The municipal council decides in December how much and where this money is used.
- Enactment of laws: In its role as legislative authority, the municipal council enacts laws for the city of Zurich. In particular, these are ordinances of general importance such as the Taxi Ordinance or the General Police Ordinance. It also sets the municipal structure and usage plans.
- Spending decisions: All matters that the city council cannot decide on its own authority must be submitted to the municipal council. At the request of the city council, this decides on expenditure for certain purposes, for example for a new school building. Spending over CHF 20 million must also be submitted to the people (mandatory referendum).
- Submission of proposals: In order to present the interests of the town's voters, every member of the municipal council, every parliamentary group and every commission of the town council is entitled to submit proposals to the town council. The aim of a move is for the city council to shape its policy according to these concerns.
- Approval of the bill: In its role as a supervisory body, the municipal council approves the city's bill every June.
- Approval of the business report: The business report gives the municipal council an insight into the work of the city council and the city administration and can thus supervise them.
- Election of various bodies: The municipal council elects numerous bodies in its function as representative of the people. These include, for example, the members of the district electoral offices, the members of the school commissions, the data protection officer, the officer in charge of complaints or the director of financial control.
Parties and parliamentary groups
- see also the results of the local elections in Zurich
Seven parties are represented in the municipal council in the current legislature. The distribution of seats is as follows (as of March 8, 2018):
A parliamentary group consists of at least five members of the municipal council, who usually belong to the same party. The parliamentary group is an important platform for forming opinions on the business of the local council. The political groups receive financial contributions from the city for running a parliamentary group secretariat. The parliamentary groups are represented in the commissions according to their strengths.
In the 2018-2022 legislature, six political groups and the EPP parliamentary group are represented in the Council.
The following table shows the development of the distribution of seats in the municipal council since 1895:
|Parties||SP||FDP 1||SVP 2||Green||GLP||AL 3||EPP 4||CVP||LDU||PdA 5||Democrats||Rest||Total|
1 FDP: 1970 including democrats
2 SVP: until 1970 as BGB
3 AL: 1990 to 1998 as "Alternative List Zurich 1990"
4 EPP: 2018 with BDP
5 PdA: 1922 to 1938 as communists
Source: Statistics City of Zurich
Number and distribution among constituencies
The municipal council consists of 125 members. The seats are distributed over nine constituencies according to the population. The city districts 1 and 2, 4 and 5 as well as 7 and 8 together form an electoral district, the other city districts each form their own constituency. The municipal council is elected at the ballot box every four years by the 228 700 eligible voters of the city of Zurich (as of 2018), whereby the biproportional allocation procedure according to Pukelsheim is used. Each council member represents around 3390 residents across the city. In order to move into the municipal council, the five percent hurdle has to be overcome in at least one constituency since 2006 . An abolition of the threshold clause was rejected by the people in 2017. The last election took place on March 4, 2018 for the term of office from 2018 to 2022.
The president of the municipal council in the 2020/2021 year of office is Helen Glaser. She is elected for one year and is the highest city of Zurich during this time. The President chairs the meetings of the municipal council and takes on representative tasks. Helen Glaser (SP) will be supported in her year in office by the first Vice President Mischa Schiwow (AL) and the second Vice President Matthias Probst (Greens). As a rule, the president first holds the office of the second and then the first vice presidency. The Presidium is supported by the Council Secretariat during the Council meeting. It is responsible for all minutes of the Council (decision and substantive minutes as well as audio recording of the meetings).
The members of the municipal council are militia politicians, ie they have a profession in addition to their mandate as a councilor. The workload as a community council member with all preparations and follow-up work and participation in council, committee and parliamentary group meetings is at least 20 percent. An additional office such as the presidium of the council or a commission takes significantly more time. Members of the municipal council receive an attendance fee for attending council and commission meetings. The compensation referred to as daily allowance amounts to CHF 130 for a session of up to 2.5 hours.
The commissions are working groups for specific political areas. They discuss the submissions from the city council and submit applications to the municipal council. In their role as experts in their area of responsibility, the committee members are important contact persons for the rest of the Council. In the commissions, the seats are distributed according to the strength of the parliamentary groups in the council.
The municipal council has the following commissions:
- Office of the municipal council (management)
- Standing Committees: Audit and Business Review Commission
- Special commissions: SK FD (Finance Department), SK GUD (Health and Environment Department), SK HBD / SE (Building Construction Department / Urban Development), SK SID / V (Security Department / Transport), SK PRD / SSD (Presidential Department / School and Sports Department), SK SD (Social Department), SK TED / DIB (Civil Engineering and Waste Management Department / Department of Industrial Companies)
- Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry ERZ (since 2017)
- Editorial Committee
- Intergroup Commission
Former praesidia of the parish council
Dr. Johannes Caspar Ryf was the first president of the local council in 1831. Since the first incorporation on January 1, 1893, the local council has existed in its current form. The first to preside over this Dr. Konrad Escher from the Liberals. The first president was Irene Müller-Bertschi (SP) in 1978. The following table shows the previous presidia.
|Year of office||Surname||Political party|
|2011/12||Manser Joe A.||SP|
- Nicola Behrens: Zurich (municipality). In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland ., Chapter 4.1
- Statistical Yearbook of the City of Zurich 2014, p. 379
- Statistical Yearbook of the City of Zurich 1969, p. 398
- Results of the 2018 renewal elections
- Municipal the City of Zurich, Art. 23
- Municipal the City of Zurich, Art. 4, Paragraph 2
- Tagblatt: The 5 percent hurdle remains in Zurich ( Memento from December 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
- Compensation Ordinance of the City Council of Zurich