Grand Council (Basel-Stadt)

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Great Council, Basel
Basel Town Hall

The Grand Council is the cantonal parliament of Basel-Stadt in Switzerland . It meets in the town hall of Basel and is the legislative and supreme supervisory authority of the canton . Its meetings usually take place twice a month, are public and are also broadcast live online via the website of the Grand Council. The number of its members was reduced from 130 to 100 in January 2009 due to the new cantonal constitution. The current legislative period lasts from February 2017 to January 2021. The last Grand Council elections took place on October 23, 2016.

Like most democratic parliaments, the Grand Council, as the legislature, is primarily responsible for legislation, but also exercises overall supervision over the cantonal administration, the government and the judiciary. It enacts all fundamental and important provisions in the form of laws (Section 83 of the Cantonal Constitution). It sets taxes and duties, approves loans and approves the budget and the state accounts. It also elects the judges of the four cantonal courts. After all, it also has an important urban development task in that it has to approve development plans and zone changes for the city of Basel.


The term Grand Council has been used in Basel since 1380. The then Grand Council, however, was only a body that was convened at will by the Small Council (actual power center). Most of the (at that time) 200 members of the Grand Council were guild members, while the Small Council was dominated by nobles and patricians . Between 1803 and 1833 (when the rural areas split off as the Canton of Basel-Landschaft ), the Grand Council was the supreme body of the Canton of Basel. After the half-canton of Basel-Stadt was founded , Basel had a Grand Council ( canton parliament ) and a city ​​council (city parliament). The Grand Council has been regulating all legislative matters since 1875, both for the city ​​of Basel and the canton of Basel-Stadt. In addition to the city ​​of Basel , the canton also has two other municipalities ( Riehen and Bettingen ), which have their own municipal bodies and authorities. In the same year, the right to vote was extended to all male Swiss , as previously only the wealthy citizens were eligible to vote. This is the actual hour of birth of today's Grand Council as the democratically elected supreme body of the canton and the city.

Proportional suffrage was introduced in 1905 and women s right to vote and suffrage in 1966 . The new cantonal constitution of July 13, 2006 sets the number of members of the Grand Council to 100, which led to a reduction in the number of seats in the autumn 2008 elections.


Like most democratic parliaments, the Grand Council, as the legislature , is primarily responsible for legislation , but also exercises overall supervision over the cantonal administration, the government and the judiciary . It enacts all fundamental and important provisions in the form of laws (Section 83 of the Cantonal Constitution). It sets taxes and duties, approves loans and approves the budget and the state accounts. It also elects the judges of the four cantonal courts. After all, it also has an important urban development task in that it has to approve development plans and zone changes for the city of Basel.

Urgent laws that do not allow postponement can be put into effect immediately with a majority of two thirds of the members present (Section 84 of the Cantonal Constitution). The Grand Council is deemed to have a quorum if at least half of its members are present (Section 98 of the Cantonal Constitution). Unless otherwise stipulated by the constitution or a law, resolutions are passed by a simple majority (Section 29 Rules of Procedure of the Grand Council).

The Grand Council is unique in terms of national policy in Switzerland in that it is the legislature of the Canton of Basel-Stadt AND the City of Basel; he is thus responsible for cantonal as well as communal matters.

Like all other parliaments in Switzerland (including the two federal chambers, the National Council and the Council of States ), the Basel Grand Council is also a militia parliament . It usually meets twice a month in public in Basel's town hall. Most of the proposals to be dealt with by the Grand Council are studied in advance by commissions. The Grand Council has 13 standing commissions. Seven are material commissions, two are supervisory commissions (business audit committee and finance committee).

Grand Council resolutions are subject to a referendum when it comes to constitutional revisions, formulated initiatives, international treaties with constitutional content, or changes to the canton. The same applies to unformulated initiatives that have been rejected by the Grand Council or to which a counter-proposal has been submitted, and to templates that the Grand Council has drawn up from unformulated initiatives (mandatory referendum, Section 51 of the cantonal constitution). In addition, there is the option of an optional referendum for changes to the law and spending decisions for more than 1.5 million francs. This requires the approval of 2,000 voters within 42 days of the publication of the resolution (Section 52 of the Cantonal Constitution). There is also the so-called right of initiative. 3000 people entitled to vote can demand the enactment, repeal or amendment of a law, constitutional provisions or other resolutions of the Grand Council. These initiatives must be submitted with the required number of signatures within 18 months of publication (Section 47 of the cantonal constitution).


13 35 7th 10 15th 15th 
A total of 100 seats

The following parties are represented in the Grand Council (as of July 2017):

  • Social Democratic Party SP : 35 seats
  • Liberal Democratic Party LDP : 15 seats
  • Swiss People's Party SVP : 15 seats
  • Greens and BastA! Green Alliance : 13 seats
  • Liberal Democratic Party FDP : 11 seats
  • Christian Democratic People's Party CVP : 7 seats
  • Green Liberal Party GLP : 3 seats
  • Evangelical People's Party EPP : 1 seat


The number of members is 100 (Section 80 of the Cantonal Constitution). The members of the Grand Council are elected for a term of four years (Section 73 of the Cantonal Constitution). A maximum of four terms of office are possible, with partial terms of office counting as full (Section 82 of the cantonal constitution). The legislative period begins in the first half of February after the elections (Section 33 of the Electoral Act).


Various changes came into force for the period after the 2012 elections. List connections between parties are no longer permitted since the 2012 elections. The quorum regulation has also been changed. Previously, a party had to receive at least 5 percent of the vote in one of the four (proportional) constituencies in order to be taken into account in the distribution of seats. A 4 percent quorum now applies according to constituencies; A party is therefore to be taken into account in the allocation of seats in a proportional constituency if it has received at least 4 percent of the votes.

The allocation of seats, which in the cantons of Zurich , Aargau and Schaffhausen now takes place across all constituencies after the “ double Pukelsheim ”, was rejected by the Basel Grand Council as too difficult to understand. The allocation of seats according to electoral districts remained, but instead of the Hagenbach-Bischoff procedure, the Sainte-Laguë procedure is now used, which no longer allows preference for large parties. Since then, Basel-Stadt has been the first Swiss canton to use the Sainte-Laguë seat allocation procedure.

This was clearly noticeable in the 2012 election results. For example, gains in votes by the Social Democrats did not lead to any significant increase in the number of mandates, as they were by far the strongest party in the previous Hagenbach-Bischoff process.

With an amendment to the cantonal constitution on February 12, 2017, the canton of Basel-Stadt abolished the quorum for electing the Grand Council. Quorums will no longer be used in the autumn 2020 elections.

Seating arrangements

The regulation of many parliaments that the members of parliament sit according to parliamentary groups does not apply in Basel.

Starting with the innermost rows, the seats are always numbered from left to right from the point of view of the Presidium and are initially occupied in the order of the constituencies: Grossbasel East, Grossbasel West, Kleinbasel, Riehen, Bettingen. The innermost seats (1–27) are occupied by representatives from Grossbasel-Ost, while the rearmost seats are deputies from Riehen (89–99) and the representative from Bettingen (100). Within the constituency groups that are created in this way, seats are then allocated according to party strength, with the party with the most representatives being the first. The order of the representatives of a party results from the personal vote result in the election.


The division of the canton into electoral districts is laid down in Section 42 of the Electoral Act and was last changed at the beginning of the 2009 legislative period, as the number of seats in the Grand Council was reduced from 130 to 100. The canton is divided into five constituencies: Grossbasel-Ost, Grossbasel-West, Kleinbasel, Riehen and Bettingen. The distribution of the mandates to the constituencies is based on their number of inhabitants and is redefined by a resolution of the Grand Council following a census. Each constituency is entitled to at least one member.

In principle, the constituencies are proportional constituencies. However, if a constituency is only entitled to one seat, its representative is elected according to the majority principle.

The current distribution of the seats across the districts is as follows:

district Number of representatives Number up to 2009
Grossbasel East 27 35
Grossbasel-West 34 46
Kleinbasel 27 34
Riehen 11 14th
Bettingen 1 1


Employees of a cantonal authority and employees of the canton of Basel-Stadt who are significantly involved in forming opinions in the Grand Council may not be members of the Grand Council. If they are elected to this body, they must either choose their previous position or their mandate on the Grand Council. Failure to provide such a declaration is deemed to be a waiver of the Grand Council mandate (Sections 46a and 58a of the Electoral Act).

No swearing

What is special about the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt is that a new member is not sworn in or sworn in, in contrast to almost all other cantonal parliaments. Only in Appenzell Innerrhoden is such a vow also waived.


Compensation for the members of the Grand Council is generally regulated in the law on the rules of procedure of the Grand Council; In particular, the compensation rates are set out in the implementing provisions of the law on the rules of procedure of the Grand Council, which are reviewed at the latest at the end of a term of office and re-established if necessary. The last changes were made on February 1, 2012.

Since then, a member of the Grand Council has received a basic amount of CHF 6,000 per year in office (previously CHF 4,000) and an attendance fee of CHF 200 per half-day plenary meeting (previously CHF 150). CHF 200 is also paid for committee meetings. Members of the finance committee and the business audit committee are additionally compensated with 2000 francs per year of office. The President of the Grand Council also receives a one-off representation and expense allowance of CHF 12,000. In addition, he receives an increased attendance fee of 400 francs (previously 300), as does the presidents of the commissions and sub-commissions.

The loss of attendance fees was also reorganized in 2012. This used to be the case when the MP was not present at the beginning of the session or when a call by name was ordered later. Since June 2012, a member of parliament has to register from the beginning of the session, at the latest 15 minutes after the start of the session; he is then considered to be present and is entitled to the attendance fee. He also loses the entitlement if he is not present when the quorum is determined.

Since 2005 the parliamentary groups have also been compensated with contributions. Since 2009, each parliamentary group has had a basic annual amount of CHF 10,000 plus an additional amount of CHF 500 per member per year.

Current members

As of July 2, 2020

Surname vintage Faction (party) Constituency Election year function
Semseddin Yilmaz 1966 SP Grossbasel East 2018 member
Sibylle Benz Huebner 1960 SP Grossbasel East 2005 member
Tim Cuénod 1985 SP Grossbasel East 2016 member
Mehmet Sigirci 1977 SP Grossbasel East 2019 member
Thomas Gander 1976 SP Grossbasel East 2013 Group President (SP)
René Brigger 1957 SP Grossbasel East 1988-2001
Barbara Heer 1982 SP Grossbasel East 2018 member
Ursula Metzger 1973 SP Grossbasel East 2008 member
Lisa Mathys 1978 SP Grossbasel East 2018 member
Michael Hug 1987 LDP Grossbasel East 2020 member
Raoul Furlano 1963 LDP Grossbasel East 2014 member
Michael Koechlin 1951 LDP Grossbasel East 2013 Group President (LDP)
Lydia Isler-Christ 1964 LDP Grossbasel East 2020 member
Catherine Alioth 1960 LDP Grossbasel East 2017 member
Patrick Hafner 1965 SVP Grossbasel East 2005 member
Roland Lindner 1937 SVP Grossbasel East 2006 member
Gianna Hablützel-Bürki 1969 SVP Grossbasel East 2017 member
Pascal Messerli 1989 SVP Grossbasel East 2017 Group President (SVP)
Jo Vergeat 1994 Green Alliance Grossbasel East 2019 member
Jérome Thiriet 1982 Green Alliance Grossbasel East 2019 member
Oliver Thommen 1984 Green Alliance Grossbasel East 2020 member
Christophe Haller 1957 FDP Grossbasel East 2005 member
David Jenny 1960 FDP Grossbasel East 2013 Governor
Erich Bucher 1951 FDP Grossbasel East 2013 Parliamentary group president (FDP)
Oswald Inglin 1953 CVP-EVP Grossbasel East 2005 member
Beatrice Isler 1953 CVP-EVP Grossbasel East 2014 member
Esther Keller 1984 GLP (non-attached) Grossbasel East 2019 member
Nicole Amacher 1972 SP Grossbasel West 2018 member
Beda Baumgartner 1991 SP Grossbasel West 2018 member
Danielle Kaufmann 1968 SP Grossbasel West 2013 member
Jean-Luc Perret 1976 SP Grossbasel West 2019 member
Jörg Vitelli 1950 SP Grossbasel West 1984-1994
Toya Krummenacher 1981 SP Grossbasel West 2013 member
Seyit Erdogan 1974 SP Grossbasel West 2013 member
Christian von Wartburg 1967 SP Grossbasel West 2012 member
Daniel Sägesser 1987 SP Grossbasel West 2020 member
Kaspar Sutter 1975 SP Grossbasel West 2017 member
Stefan Wittlin 1984 SP Grossbasel West 2019 member
Claudio Reto Miozzari 1977 SP Grossbasel West 2017 Member of the Council Office
Alexandra Dill 1982 SP Grossbasel West 2017 member
Oliver Bolliger 1971 Green Alliance Grossbasel West 2017 member
Beatrice Messerli 1952 Green Alliance Grossbasel West 2016 member
Raphael Fuhrer 1986 Green Alliance Grossbasel West 2016 member
Juerg Stöcklin 1951 Green Alliance Grossbasel West 1997-2013
Group President (GB)
Raffaela Hanauer 1993 Green Alliance Grossbasel West 2020 member
Joël A. Thuringia 1983 SVP Grossbasel West 2005-2006
Member of the Council Office
Alexander Olivier Gröflin 1985 SVP Grossbasel West 2006 member
Roger Stalder 1968 SVP Grossbasel West 2019 member
Daniela Stumpf 1962 SVP Grossbasel West 2014 member
Beat K. Schaller 1955 SVP Grossbasel West 2017 member
Heiner Vischer 1956 LDP Grossbasel West 2007 Member of the Council Office
Thomas Müry 1945 LDP Grossbasel West 2011 member
François Bocherens 1962 LDP Grossbasel West 2016 member
Jeremy Stephenson 1951 LDP Grossbasel West 2017 member
Luca Urgese 1986 FDP Grossbasel West 2014 member
Karin Sartorius-Brüschweiler 1972 FDP Grossbasel West 2020 member
Christian C. Moesch 1973 FDP Grossbasel West 2016 member
Felix Meier 1964 CVP-EVP Grossbasel West 2006–2013
Andrea Knellwolf 1966 CVP-EVP Grossbasel West 2014 Group President (CVP / EPP)
Martina Bernasconi 1965 FDP Grossbasel West 1998-2000
David Wüest-Rudin 1970 GLP (non-attached) Grossbasel West 2009-2013
Michela Seggiani 1974 SP Kleinbasel 2019 member
Jessica Brandenburger 1992 SP Kleinbasel 2019 member
Kerstin Wenk 1971 SP Kleinbasel 2011 member
Salome Hofer 1986 SP Kleinbasel 2009 President
Sarah Wyss 1988 SP Kleinbasel 2013 member
Pascal Pfister 1976 SP Kleinbasel 2013 member
Georg Mattmüller 1968 SP Kleinbasel 2014 member
Edibe Gölgeli 1978 SP Kleinbasel 2015 member
Franziska Reinhard 1969 SP Kleinbasel 2007 member
Sebastian Kölliker 1990 SP Kleinbasel 2017 member
Tonja Zürcher 1983 Green Alliance Kleinbasel 2016 member
Beat Leuthardt 1956 Green Alliance Kleinbasel 2016 member
Michelle Lachenmeier 1985 Green Alliance Kleinbasel 2017 Member of the Council Office
Talha Ugur Camlibel 1954 SP Kleinbasel 2005–2009
Harald Friedl 1972 Green Alliance Kleinbasel 2016 member
Felix Wehrli 1960 SVP Kleinbasel 2017 member
Christian Meidinger 1945 SVP Kleinbasel 2015 member
Lorenz Amiet 1976 SVP Kleinbasel 2019 member
Rudolf Vogel 1947 SVP Kleinbasel 2007-2013
Alex Ebi 1964 LDP Kleinbasel 2020 member
André Auderset 1959 LDP Kleinbasel 2010 member
René Häfliger 1969 LDP Kleinbasel 2017 member
Mark Eichner 1977 FDP Kleinbasel 2014 member
Beat Braun 1971 FDP Kleinbasel 2015 member
Peter Bochsler 1947 FDP Kleinbasel 1992-2005
Pasqualine Gallacchi 1968 CVP-EVP Kleinbasel 2011-2017


Courtship Herter 1984 CVP-EVP Kleinbasel 2009-2011
Member of the Council Office
Thomas Strahm 1957 LDP Riehen 2007 member
Daniel Hettich 1960 LDP Riehen 2017 member
Eduard Rutschmann 1953 SVP Riehen 2005 member
Heinrich Ueberwasser 1957 SVP Riehen 2006 member
Franziska Roth 1964 SP Riehen 2013 member
Sasha Mazzotti 1968 SP Riehen 2017 member
Andreas Zappalà 1963 FDP Riehen 2011 member
Thomas Widmer-Huber 1965 CVP-EVP Riehen 2019 member
Thomas Grossenbacher 1964 Green Alliance Riehen 2005 member
Christian Griss 1960 CVP-EVP Riehen 2016 member
Sandra Bothe 1968 GLP (non-attached) Riehen 2020 member
Olivier Battaglia 1965 LDP Bettingen 2017 member

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Cantonal constitution Basel-Stadt
  2. Archive link ( Memento of the original from July 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Information about the 2016 Grand Council elections  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Members AZ. Retrieved July 11, 2020 .