Members of Parliament
There are two chambers of parliament in Switzerland: the National Council and the Council of States. The members of both chambers are elected by the people every four years. Together, the two chambers constitute the Federal Assembly. The members of the Federal Assembly in turn elect the members of the Federal Government – the seven Federal Councillors – for a four-year term.
On the following pages you will find brief portraits of the members of parliament who represent the Canton Basel-Stadt.
Council of States
The Council of States represents the 26 Swiss cantons or states. Every canton appoints two representatives. Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft jointly count as one full canton, and each appoints just one representative.
Anita Fetz (SP)
Anita Fetz (*1957) has been a member of parliament for the Social Democrats since 1999, first in the National Council until 2003, and later in the Council of States. She is a member of the Committee for Science, Education and Culture, the Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation, and the Finance Committee. She started her political career campaigning for a small progressive organisation called POCH (Progressive Organisationen Schweiz). She was elected to the Great Council in 1984, where she served as a member of POCH until 1989, and to the National Council in 1985, serving until 1989. She joined the Social Democrats in 1995, and was again a member of the Great Council of Basel-Stadt between 1997 and 2004.
Anita Fetz (lic. phil.) owns a consulting business in Basel.
The National Council represents the Swiss people. There is one seat for every 37'500 inhabitants. The number of seats per canton depends on its size. Basel-Stadt has five seats in the National Council.
Sibel Arslan (Green Alliance of Basel-Stadt)
Sibel Arslan (1980*) works as a legal expert and was elected to the Parliament of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in 2005. Since 2007 she has been a member of the Justice, Security and Sports Commission and since 2015 she has been Fraction President of the Green Alliance and a member of the Clemency Commission. Ms Arslan is also Co-President of the Association for Intercultural Age-Related Issues and Co-President of the Basel-Van town twinning association.
Christoph Eymann (LDP)
Christoph Eymann (1951*) was elected to the State Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in 2001. Since then he is the Head of the Department of Education.
Between 1981 and 1989 he was a member of the citizens municipal council. 1984 he was elected to the Cantonal parliament of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and in 1991 he was elected to the National Council for the first time. He holds a doctoral degree in law and between 1999 and 2001 he was also a member of the Constitutional Council.
Sebastian Frehner (SVP)
Sebastian Frehner (*1973) was elected to the Great Council of Basel-Stadt in 2004. In 2009 he became chairman of his party, SVP Basel-Stadt. He stood for office in the National Council, and succeeded Jean Henri Dunant, who resigned in 2010. He was reelected in 2011. He is a member of the Committee for Social Security and Health and the Judicial Committee.
Dr. Sebastian Frehner is a lawyer and works as a business and political consultant, trustee and insurance broker.
Beat Jans (SP)
Beat Jans (*1964) was chairman of his party, SP Basel-Stadt, until 2005 and he was a member of Parliament from 2001 to 2011. He stood for office in the National Council in 2007 and succeeded Rudolf Rechsteiner, who resigned in May 2010. He was reelected in 2011. He is a member of the Committee for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy, and the Committee responsible for examining the legislative programme.
Beat Jans (dipl. nat. ETH) is managing director of NATUR and works as a lecturer.
Silvia Schenker (SP)
Silvia Schenker (*1954) was elected to the Great Council of Basel-Stadt in 1995 and kept her seat until 2004. In 2003 she was elected to the National Council. She is a member of the Political Institutions Committee, the Committee for Social Security and Health, and the Immunity Committee. Between 2006 and 2008, she was vice chairman of her party, SP Switzerland.
Silvia Schenker is a trained social worker and works for the Guardianship Authority Basel-Stadt.