The Basel Region Has a Strong Voice in Swiss Politics

Following the recent federal elections in Switzerland, the Basel region has gained quite a bit in political stature, with three politicians now in top positions in government and legislature.

On December 13, Beat Jans from the Social Democratic Party (SP), who for the last two years was Regierungspräsident (president of the Executive Council) of Basel-Stadt, was elected as a Bundesrat (federal councilor) in Bern—that is, one of the seven individuals making up the Swiss federal government. He is replacing SP councilor Alain Berset, who earlier this year announced he would leave office at the end of December. Jans will start in his new position on January 1, 2024, taking on the Federal Department of Justice and Police.

In addition to Jans, politicians from the Basel region are now also presiding over both houses of Swiss parliament—the Nationalrat (National Council) and the Ständerat (Council of States). All members of both houses were elected in a general election on October 22, 2023.

The Ständerat has 46 members—two for each canton, regardless of population, with the exception of the half-cantons Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Obwalden, and Nidwalden, who each have one representative in the Ständerat. On December 4, Eva Herzog from the SP Basel-Stadt was elected as president of the Ständerat.

The Nationalrat has 200 members, with the number of seats allotted to the 26 cantons based on their respective populations, but each canton has at least one representative. The population figures on which the distribution of seats is based, are obtained from the registers in the year following the previous election (so will be updated next year). Also on December 4, Eric Nussbaumer from the SP Baselland was elected as president of the Nationalrat.

photos: © parlamentsdienste 3003 bern / franca pedrazzetti /carmela odoni