How Does Municipal Politics Work?


Every 5 years, municipal elections are held to elect city representatives to the City Council. In these elections, one can run as an independent candidate or together with a party.

City Councillors & Factions

As an elected city councillor, you can join a faction. A faction consists of at least three city councillors. The advantage of belonging to a faction is that you get access to offices as well as additional financial resources for political work.

Working as a City Councillor (Within a Faction)

When working for the city council, motions are one of the main political instruments. With motions, city council members can influence the city’s actions or change the cityscape. Research work is therefore carried out within the factions in order to formulate said motions. In addition, votes are taken on motions from other factions. As a city councillor, you also meet with people and associations from the city to find out where problems lie. The work as a city councillor is voluntary and unsalaried.

The committees convene once a month. In these committees, decisions are made on which motions from other groups or city council members are accepted and which are rejected. Accordingly, there is also an exchange on the content of the motions. The committee for transportation is responsible for motions on transportation and so forth.

The City Council Meeting

The City Council also meets on a monthly basis. At the City Council Meeting, motions that have previously received positive votes in the committees are officially approved. These motions are then presented to the magistrate for their implementation. In addition, the City Council Meeting provides a stage to further exchange views on motions or current municipal issues.


The Magistrate is the city government and can be understood as the municipal counterpart to the federal cabinet. It implements the motions of the city council by assigning them to the corresponding departments. For example, a motion on bicycle paths is assigned to the Department XII for Mobility and Health.


The municipal departments can be viewed analogous to federal ministries. They implement municipal policies. The various municipal offices belong to the corresponding departments. For example, the Youth Welfare Office is subordinate to the Department VIII for Social Affairs, Youth, Family. Unlike city councillors, department heads and all those who work in the administration work full-time and receive monthly salaries.

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