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Politics & Law

At a political level, a municipality is the smallest unit of government in Switzerland. The City of Zurich itself is an example of a municipality. The next level is the canton of Zurich, which also has its own government and parliament. There are 26 cantons which are part of Switzerland and form what is known as the Helvetic Confederation. The City of Zurich as a municipality enjoys significant decision-making powers and autonomy within Switzerland's political system. Voters can have their say on proposals and laws and elect candidates to office, giving them important involvement in how the politics of the City of Zurich are shaped. Innovative decisions and unconventional solutions often have an influence on both national politics and those of the metropolitan region of Zurich.


The City of Zurich's administration is made up of nine departments and the corresponding service departments which implement the rulings of the City Parliament. The administration is run by a nine-member City Council which is elected by the people. As an employer, the City of Zurich has forged a reputation for providing interesting assignments, social commitment and progressive working conditions, the latter including fair salaries and advantageous social conditions, a variety of working models, equal opportunities for men and women and a wide range of training and educational possibilities.

The Zurich City Council

The City Council constitutes the government of the City of Zurich and operates as a collegiate authority. Its nine members work on a full-time basis and each member presides over a department. The president of the executive department acts as mayor. The nine City Council members carry out departemental tasks and projects, coordinate various measures and implement laws decreed by the City Parliament. The election of the City Council by registered voters is held every four years.

City Parliament

The City Parliament is made up of 125 members, with elections held every four years. The City Parliament decrees regulations and by-laws executed by the City Council and by the administration. All dealings of the City Parliament are public. Members of the City Parliament are not politicians by profession, but they are paid a fee based on their attendance. Any resident of the City of Zurich entitled to vote can be elected to the City Parliament (with the same applying to the City Council).

Policies in the City of Zurich

The successful development of the City of Zurich in recent years has been aided by sound economic climate and by the implementation of important strategies within the city. These include, but are not limited to, progressive residential building policies, the development of public transport, the increased variety in terms of culture and the upgrading of public areas. To make sure that this progress continues, the city council has defined various spheres of activity. The long-term policies of the City of Zurich are based on the «Zurich 2035 strategies» and follow the vision of further developing Zurich into a metropolis with sustainable facilities.

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