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The canton of Basel-City was created in 1833 as a result of the separation of the former region of Basel into the two half-cantons of Basel-City and Basel-Country.

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Today Basel is a city state - a small yet well-functioning democracy in its own right. In addition to the city itself and its various quarters, the half-canton also includes the communes of Riehen and Bettingen.

The Governing Council, which is the executive body of the canton government, is a decision-making panel comprising of seven members.

The Great Council forms the legislature. Its 100 members are responsible for the making and repealing of laws and supervision of public administration and the judicature.