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Local Authority

Local government is a form of public administration which in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state. The term is used to contrast with offices at state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or (where appropriate) federal government and also to supranational government which deals with governing institutions between states. Local governments generally act within powers delegated to them by legislation or directives of the higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises the third (or sometimes fourth) tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government, often with greater powers than higher-level administrative divisions.

The question of municipal autonomy is a key question of public administration and governance. The institutions of local government vary greatly between countries, and even where similar arrangements exist, the terminology often varies. Common names for local government entities include state, province, region, department, county, prefecture, district, city, township, town, borough, parish, municipality, shire and village.

Africa

Egypt

Local government traditionally had limited power in Egypt's highly centralized state. Under the central government were twenty-six governorates (sing., muhafazah; pl., muhafazat). These were subdivided into districts (sing., markaz; pl., marakaz) and villages (sing., qaryah; pl., qura) or towns. At each level, there was a governing structure that combined representative councils and government-appointed executive organs headed by governors, district officers, and mayors, respectively. Governors were appointed by the president, and they, in turn, appointed subordinate executive officers. The coercive backbone of the state apparatus ran downward from the Ministry of Interior through the governors' executive organs to the district police station and the village headman (sing., umdah; pl., umadah).

Before the revolution, state penetration of the rural areas was limited by the power of local notables, but under Nasser, land reform reduced their socioeconomic dominance, and the incorporation of peasants into cooperatives transferred mass dependence from landlords to government. The extension of officials into the countryside permitted the regime to bring development and services to the village. The local branches of the ruling party, the Arab Socialist Union (ASU), fostered a certain peasant political activism and coopted the local notables—in particular the village headmen—and checked their independence from the regime.

State penetration did not retreat under Sadat and Mubarak. The earlier effort to mobilize peasants and deliver services disappeared as the local party and cooperative withered, but administrative controls over the peasants remained intact. The local power of the old families and the headmen revived but more at the expense of peasants than of the state. The district police station balanced the notables, and the system of local government (the mayor and council) integrated them into the regime.

Sadat took several measures to decentralize power to the provinces and towns. Governors acquired more authority under Law Number 43 of 1979, which reduced the administrative and budgetary controls of the central government over the provinces. The elected councils acquired, at least formally, the right to approve or disapprove the local budget. In an effort to reduce local demands on the central treasury, local government was given wider powers to raise local taxes. But local representative councils became vehicles of pressure for government spending, and the soaring deficits of local government bodies had to be covered by the central government. Local government was encouraged to enter into joint ventures with private investors, and these ventures stimulated an alliance between government officials and the local rich that paralleled the infitah alliance at the national level. Under Mubarak decentralization and local autonomy became more of a reality, and local policies often reflected special local conditions. Thus, officials in Upper Egypt often bowed to the powerful Islamic movement there, while those in the port cities struck alliances with importers

Kenya

.

Mali

In recent years, Mali has undertaken an ambitious decentralization program, which involves the capital district of Bamako, seven regions subdivided into 46 cercles, and 682 rural community districts (communes). The state retains an advisory role in administrative and fiscal matters, and it provides technical support, coordination, and legal recourse to these levels. Opportunities for direct political participation, and increased local responsibility for development have been improved.

In August–September 1998, elections were held for urban council members, who subsequently elected their mayors. In May/June 1999, citizens of the communes elected their communal council members for the first time. Female voter turnout was about 70% of the total, and observers considered the process open and transparent. With mayors, councils, and boards in place at the local level, newly elected officials, civil society organizations, decentralized technical services, private sector interests, other communes, and donor groups began partnering to further development.

Eventually, the cercles will be reinstituted (formerly grouping arrondissements) with a legal and financial basis of their own. Their councils will be chosen by and from members of the communal councils. The regions, at the highest decentralized level, will have a similar legal and financial autonomy, and will comprise a number of cercles within their geographical boundaries. Mali needs to build capacity at these levels, especially to mobilize and manage financial resources.

South Africa

Main article: Local government in South Africa

South Africa has a two tiered local government system comprising local municipalities which fall into district municipalities, and metropolitan municipalities which span both tiers of local government.

Asia

Afghanistan

Afghanistan was traditionally divided into provinces governed by centrally appointed governors with considerable autonomy in local affairs. There are currently 34 provinces. During the Soviet occupation and the development of country-wide resistance, local areas came increasingly under the control of mujaheddin groups that were largely independent of any higher authority; local commanders, in some instances, asserted a measure of independence also from the mujaheddin leadership in Pakistan, establishing their own systems of local government, collecting revenues, running educational and other facilities, and even engaging in local negotiations. Mujaheddin groups retained links with the Peshawar parties to ensure access to weapons that were doled out to the parties by the government of Pakistan for distribution to fighters inside Afghanistan.

The Taliban set up a shura (assembly), made up of senior Taliban members and important tribal figures from the area. Each shura made laws and collected taxes locally. The Taliban set up a provisional government for the whole of Afghanistan, but it did not exercise central control over the local shuras.

The process of setting up the transitional government in June 2002 by the Loya Jirga took many steps involving local government. First, at the district and municipal level, traditional shura councils met to pick electors—persons who cast ballots for Loya Jirga delegates. Each district or municipality had to choose a predetermined number of electors, based on the size of its population. The electors then traveled to regional centers and cast ballots, to choose from amongst themselves a smaller number of loya jirga delegates— according to allotted numbers assigned to each district. The delegates then took part in the Loya Jirga.

The warlords who rule various regions of the country exert local control. The transitional government is attempting to integrate local governing authorities with the central government, but it lacks the loyalty from he warlords necessary to its governing authority. More traditional elements of political authority—such as Sufi networks, royal lineage, clan strength, age-based wisdom, and the like—still exist and play a role in Afghan society. Karzai is relying on these traditional sources of authority in his challenge to the warlords and older Islamist leaders. The deep ethnic, linguistic, sectarian, tribal, racial, and regional cleavages present in the country create what is called "Qawm" identity, emphasizing the local over higher-order formations. Qawm refers to the group to which the individual considers himself to belong, whether a subtribe, village, valley, or neighborhood. Local governing authority relies upon these forms of identity and loyalty.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is divided into seven administrative divisions,[1] each named after their respective divisional headquarters: Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Rangpur.

Divisions are subdivided into districts (zila). There are 64 districts in Bangladesh, each further subdivided into upazila (subdistricts) or thana. The area within each police station, except for those in metropolitan areas, is divided into several unions, with each union consisting of multiple villages. In the metropolitan areas, police stations are divided into wards, which are further divided into mahallas. There are no elected officials at the divisional or district levels, and the administration is composed only of government officials. Direct elections are held for each union (or ward), electing a chairperson and a number of members. In 1997, a parliamentary act was passed to reserve three seats (out of 12) in every union for female candidates.[2]

Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. The cities with a city corporation, having mayoral elections, include Dhaka South, Dhaka North, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur, Comilla and Gazipur. Other major cities, these and other municipalities electing a chairperson, include Mymensingh, Gopalganj, Jessore, Bogra, Dinajpur, Saidapur, Narayanganj and Rangamati. Both the municipal heads are elected for a span of five years.

India

In India the local government is the third level of government apart from the State and Central governments. There are two types of local government in operation: panchayats in rural areas and municipalities in urban areas. The panchayats are a linked system of local bodies with village panchayats (average population about 5,000), panchayat samities at the intermediate level (average population about 100,000), and district panchaytas (average population about 1,000,000).. The local government bodies are the democratic institutions at the basic level.

Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Interior recognizes four types of local government in Israel:

  • Cities: 71 single-level urban municipalities, usually with populations exceeding 20,000 residents.
  • Local councils: 141 single-level urban or rural municipalities, usually with populations between 2,000 and 20,000.
  • Regional Councils: 54 bi-level municipalities which govern multiple rural communities located in relative geographic vicinity. The number of residents in the individual communities usually does not exceed 2000. There are no clear limits to the population and land area size of Israeli regional councils.
  • Industrial councils: Two single-level municipalities which govern large and complex industrial areas outside cities. The local industrial councils are Tefen in Upper Galilee (north of Karmiel) and Ramat Hovav in the Negev (south of Beer Sheval

Japan

Main article: Districts of Japan

Since the Meiji restoration, Japan has had a local government system based on prefectures. The national government oversees much of the country. Municipal governments were historical villages. Now mergers are common for cost effective administration. There are 47 prefectures. They have two main responsibilities. One is mediation between national and municipal governments. The other is area wide administration.

Malaysia

Local government is the lowest level in the system of government in Malaysia—after federal and state. It has the power to collect taxes (in the form of assessment tax), to create laws and rules (in the form of by-laws) and to grant licenses and permits for any trade in its area of jurisdiction, in addition to providing basic amenities, collecting and managing waste and garbage as well as planning and developing the area under its jurisdiction.

Pakistan

Local government is the third tier of government in Pakistan, after Federal Government and Provincial Government.There are three types of administrative unit of local government in Pakistan:

There are over five thousand local governments in Pakistan. Since 2001, these have been led by democratically elected local councils, each headed by a Nazim (the word means "supervisor" in Urdu, but is sometimes translated as Mayor). Some districts, incorporating large metropolitan areas, are called City Districts. A City District may contain subdivisions called Towns and Union Councils. Council elections are held every four years. District Governments also include a District Coordination Officer (DCO), who is a civil servant in-charge of all devolved departments. Currently, the Powers of Nazim are also held by the DCO.

Palestinian Authority

Local government in the Palestinian National Authority-controlled areas are divided into three main groups: Municipal councils, village council and local development committees.

  • Municipality (Palestinian Authority): Depends on size of locality. Localities that serve as the centers of governorates and populations over 15,000 have 15-member councils. Localities with populations over 15,000 residents have 13-member councils and localities with populations between 4,000 and 15,000 have 9-member councils.
  • Village Council (Palestinian Authority): Localities with populations between 800 and 1,500 have 3-member councils while those between 1,500 and −4,000 residents have 7-member councils.

Philippines

The Local Government Code of 1991 provides for the three levels of Local Government Units or LGUs in the Philippines: (1) the province (2) city and municipality, and (3) the barangay. The country remains a unitary state and the National Government continues to have strong influence over local government units.

A province is led by a governor along with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) composed of board members. A mayor leads a city or municipality while the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) and the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) constitute the legislative branches of a city and municipality, respectively. A barangay is headed by the Barangay Captain and the Barangay Council. Barangays can be further divided into puroks and sitios but their leadership is unelected.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution also provides for the existence of autonomous regions. The Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is the only autonomous region in the Philippines. There was an attempt to institute an autonomous region in the Cordillera, but that failed and instead the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was established.

Local governments have limited taxing authority. Most of their funds come from the national government via the Internal Revenue Allotment

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

There are three levels of local government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: the city council, the municipal council and the municipality.

The city council is the highest level of local government. The municipal councils began in 2005 and is the second level of local government. The municipality is the third level of local government. There are 178 municipalities across the kingdom. The first began in Jeddah during the Othmanic period. Each municipality is run by its city's mayor. As a collective the kingdom's municipalities make up the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs (MoMRA).

Turkey

Turkey has two levels of local government; provinces (Turkish: iller ) and districts (Turkish: ilçeler ).

The territory of Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for administrative purposes. The provinces are organized into 7 regions for census purposes; however, they do not represent an administrative structure. Each province is divided into districts, for a total of 923 districts.

Europe

Albania

Albania has 3 levels of local government :

  • 12 administrative counties (Albanian: qark or prefekturë).
  • 36 districts (Albanian: rreth).
  • 373 municipalities (Albanian: bashki or komunë), 72 of which have city status (Albanian: qytet).

There are overall 2980 villages/communities (Albanian: fshat) in all Albania. Each district has its council which is composed of a number of municipalities. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.[3]

Andorra

Andorra is formed by seven parishes (parròquies, singular – parròquia); Andorra la Vella, Canillo, Encamp, La Massana, Escaldes-Engordany, Ordino, Sant Julia de Loria.

Some parishes have a further territorial subdivision. Ordino, La Massana and Sant Julià de Lòria are subdivided into quarts (quarters), while Canillo is subdivided into 10 veïnats (neighborhoods). Those mostly coincide with villages, which are found in all parishes. Each parish has its own elected mayor who is the nominal head of the local government known as a comú in Catalan.

Bulgaria

Since the 1880s, the number of territorial management units in Bulgaria has varied from seven to 26.[4] Between 1987 and 1999 the administrative structure consisted of nine provinces (oblasti, singular oblast). A new administrative structure was adopted in parallel with the decentralisation of the economic system.[5] It includes 27 provinces and a metropolitan capital province (Sofia-Grad). All areas take their names from their respective capital cities. The provinces subdivide into 264 municipalities.

Municipalities are run by mayors, who are elected to four-year terms, and by directly elected municipal councils. Bulgaria is a highly centralised state, where the national Council of Ministers directly appoints regional governors and all provinces and municipalities are heavily dependent on it for funding.[6]

Croatia

Croatia is divided into 20 counties and the capital city of Zagreb, the latter having the authority and legal status of a county and a city at the same time. The counties subdivide into 127 cities and 429 municipalities.[7]

Czech Republic

Main articles: Regions of the Czech Republic and Districts of the Czech Republic

The highest tier of local government in the Czech Republic are the thirteen regions (Czech: kraje, singular kraj) and the capital city of Prague. Each region has its own elected Regional Assembly (krajské zastupitelstvo) and hejtman (usually translated as hetman or "president"). In Prague, their powers are executed by the city council and the mayor.

The regions are divided into seventy-six districts (okresy, singular okres) including three "statutory cities" (without Prague, which had special status). The districts lost most of their importance in 1999 in an administrative reform; they remain as territorial divisions and seats of various branches of state administration.[8] A further reform in effect since January 2003 created 204 Municipalities with Extended Competence (obce s rozšířenou působností; also obce III. stupně – third-level municipalities, unofficially also called "little districts" (Czech: 'malé okresy') which took over most of the administration of the former district authorities. Some of these are further divided between Municipalities with Commissioned Local Authority (obce s pověřeným obecním úřadem, shortened to pověřená obec, pl. pověřené obce; "second-level municipalities"). In 2007 the borders of the districts were slightly adjusted and 119 municipalities are now within different districts.

Denmark

For local government purposes, Denmark is divided into five regions (Danish: regioner), with their most important area of responsibility being the public health service. They are also responsible for employment policies, and some regions are responsible for public mass transit. Regions are not entitled to levy their own taxes., and they rely entirely on central state funding (around 70%) and funding coming from the municipalities (around 30%). Regions are led by directly elected councils (regionsråd). They consist of 41 members each.

The regions are further divided into 98 municipalities (kommuner). Elections for the municipalities are held on the third Tuesday of November every four years.

Estonia

Estonia is divided into fifteen counties (Estonian: maakonnad), each led by a county governor (maavanem), who represents the national government at the regional level. Governors are appointed by the government, and so the regions do not have full self-government. The regions are further divided into 227 municipalities (omavalitsus), and each municipality is a unit of self-government with its representative and executive bodies.

Finland

The most important administrative layer of local government in Finland are the 336 municipalities, which may also call themselves towns or cities. They account for half of public spending. Spending is financed by municipal income tax, state subsidies, and other revenue.

In addition to municipalities, there are two intermediate levels of local government. Municipalities co-operate in seventy-four sub-regions and nineteen regions. These are governed by the member municipalities and have only limited powers. However, the autonomous province of Åland has a directly elected regional council, and the Sami people have a semi-autonomous Sami Domicile Area in Lapland for issues on language and culture.

France

According to its Constitution of 1958, France has 3 levels of local government :

However, in addition to the constitutional clauses of 1958, there now exist specificities:

  • Intercommunalities are now a level of government between municipalities and departments.
  • There exist 2 "pays d'outre-mer": French Polynesia and New Caledonia. The expression "pays d'outre-mer" is convenient as it can be understood in French as both "overseas country" and "overseas county/traditional area" (as evidenced by Pays de la Loire that is a home région, not a home "country"). French Polynesia works as an autonomous région, whereas New Caledonia has a sui generis local government status with specific institutions and even more autonomy.

Germany

Greece

Main articles: Modern regions of Greece and Municipalities and communities of Greece

Since 1 January 2011, Greece consists of thirteen regions subdivided into a total of 325 municipalities and communities. The regions have their own elected governors and regional councils, however there seven decentralized administrations, which group from one to three regions under a government-appointed general secretary. There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos.

Hungary

For local government, Hungary is divided into 19 counties. In addition, the capital (főváros), Budapest, is independent of any county government

The counties are further subdivided into 174 subregions (kistérségek), and Budapest is its own subregion.

There are also 23 towns with county rights (singular megyei jogú város). The local authorities of these towns have extended powers, but these towns belong to the territory of the respective county instead of being independent territorial units.

Iceland

The Municipalities of Iceland are local administrative areas in Iceland that provide a number of services to their inhabitants such as kindergartens, elementary schools, waste management, social services, public housing, public transportation, services to senior citizens and handicapped people. They also govern zoning and can voluntarily take on additional functions if they have the budget for it. The autonomy of municipalities over their own matters is guaranteed by the constitution of Iceland.

The municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are directly elected every four years The sizes of these councils vary from five members in the smallest municipalities to fifteen in the largest one. Most municipalities except for the very small ones hire an executive manager who may or may not be a member of the municipal council. These managers are usually referred to as mayors (bæjarstjóri / borgarstjóri) in the mostly urban municipalities but "commune manager" (sveitarstjóri) in the rural or mixed municipalities.

Ireland

Local government in Ireland is mainly based on a structure of 29 county councils and five city councils. By far the main source of funding is national government. Other sources include rates on commercial and industrial property, housing rents, service charges and borrowing. The city and county councils suffer from a combination of a lack of power to raise their own taxes and a gradual and persistent erosion of their powers over time. Therefore, local policy decisions are sometimes heavily influenced by the TDs who represent the local constituency in Dáil Éireann (the main chamber of parliament), and may be dictated by national politics rather than local needs.

Isle of Man

Local government on the Isle of Man is based on the concept of ancient parishes. There are three types of local authorities: a borough corporation, town commissions, and parish commissions.

Italy

The Italian Constitution defines three levels of local government:

  • Regions: At present 5 of them (Valle d'Aosta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Sardinia and Sicily) have a special status and are given more power than the others. The constitutional reform of 2001 gave more power to regions.
  • Provinces: They mostly care to roads, forests, and education. They had more power in the past.
  • Communes: The Mayor and staff, caring for the needs of a single town or of a village and neighbouring minor towns or villages.

Major cities also have an extra tier of local government named Circoscrizione di Decentramento Comunale or, in some cities (e.g. Rome) Municipio.

Latvia

Latvia is a unitary state, currently divided into 110 municipalities (Latvian: novadi) and 9 republican cities (Latvian: republikas pilsētas) with their own council.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is divided into eleven municipalities (Gemeinden – singular Gemeinde), most consisting of only a single town.

Lithuania



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