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Encyclopedia > Local government

Local governments are administrative offices that are smaller than a state. The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or (where appropriate) federal government. For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... The term nation-state, while often used interchangeably with the terms unitary state and independent state, refers properly to the parallel occurence of a state and a nation. ... Central government or the national government (or, in federal states, the federal government) is the government at the level of the nation-state. ... National governments or national unity governments are broad coalition governments consisting of all parties (or all major parties) in the legislature and are often formed during times of war or national emergency. ... A federal government is the common government of a federation. ...

In modern nations, local governments usually have fewer powers than national governments do. They usually have some power to raise taxes, though these may be limited by central legislation. In some countries local government is partly or wholly funded by subventions from central government taxation. The question of Municipal Autonomy—which powers the local government has, or should have, and why—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. However all these names are often used informally in countries where they do not describe a legal local government entity. For other uses, see Nation (disambiguation). ... Taxes redirects here. ... Legislation (or statutory law) is law which has been promulgated (or enacted) by a legislature or other governing body. ... ... Public Administration can be broadly described as the development, implementation and study of government policy. ... A province is a territorial unit, almost always a country subdivision. ... Look up Region in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A department is geographic area of a centralized country which functions as an administrative unit. ... A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ... The term prefecture (from the Latin Praefectura) indicates the office, seat, territorial circonscription of a Prefect. ... Local government areas called districts are used, or have been used, in several countries. ... For other uses, see City (disambiguation). ... The term township is used to denote a lower level territorial subdivision. ... Ronda, Spain Main street in Bastrop, Texas, United States, a small town A town is a community of people ranging from a few hundred to several thousands, although it may be applied loosely even to huge metropolitan areas. ... Look up Borough in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ... A municipality is an administrative entity composed of a clearly defined territory and its population and commonly referring to a city, town, or village, or a small grouping of them. ... A shire is an administrative area of Great Britain and Australia. ... Masouleh village, Gilan Province, Iran. ...

Main articles on each country will usually contain some information about local government, or links to an article with fuller information. The rest of this article gives information or links for countries where a relatively full description is available.



Local government is the 3rd tier of government in Australia, after Federal and State. Australia has two tiers of subnational government: state (or territory) government and local government. ...


Canada has a federal system with three orders of government. The largest is the federal government, followed by the provincial and territorial governments. At the root level is the municipal (or local) government.[1] Municipal governments are controlled by the provincial (or territorial) order of government. Local government in Canada lies at a lower level than federal and provincial government. ...


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

However, intercommunalities are now a level of government between municipalities and departments. Departments (French: IPA: ) are administrative units of France and many former French colonies, roughly analogous to English counties. ... Map of the 36,568 communes of metropolitan France. ...

 Paris (both a commune and a département) and Corsica are local government sui generis. 

This article is about the capital of France. ... For other uses, see Corsica (disambiguation). ...


See also: Category:Local government in India

In India, the local government is the third level of government apart from the state and central governments.


As a federal country, Germany is divided into a number of states (Länder in German), which used to have wide powers, but whose main remaining power today (2004) is their ability to veto federal laws through their Bundesrat representation. The system of local government is described in the article on States of Germany. Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Bundesrat (federal council) is the representation of the 16 Germany at the federal level. ... Germany is a Federal Republic made up of 16 States, known in German as Länder (singular Land). ...


The Israeli Ministry of Interior recognizes four types of local government in Israel: The Ministry of Interior in the State of Israel is one of Government offices that is responsible for local rule, citizenship and residency, identity cards (Hebrew: teudat zehut), and entry visas. ...

  • 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 - 2 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 Sheva).

Jerusalem Tel Aviv-Jaffa Haifa Rishon LeZion Ashdod Beersheba Petah Tikva Netanya Holon Bnei Brak Bat Yam Ramat Gan Ashkelon Rehovot The following list of cities in Israel is based on the current index of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). ... In Israel, a local council is a locality similar to a city in structure and way of life, that has not yet achieved a status of a city, which requires a minimum number of residents, among other things. ... The Israeli Ministry of Interior recognizes three types of local government in Israel: cities, regional councils, and local councils. ... Tefen is an international management consulting firm, is in the business of driving organizations towards achieving performance excellence. ... Galilee (Hebrew hagalil הגליל, Arabic al-jaleel الجليل), meaning circuit, is a large area overlappping with much of the North District of Israel. ... Karmiel Karmiel is a city in northern Israel. ... :For the light machine gun see IMI Negev. ... Beersheba or Beer Sheva (Hebrew באר שבע; Arabic بئر السبع Biʾr as-Sabʿ) is a city in Israel. ...


The Italian Constitution defines three levels of local government: The Constitution of Italy (Italian: Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana) is the supreme law of Italy. ...

  • Regions: At present 5 of them (Valle d'Aosta, Friuli, Trentino, 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 his 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. The Regions of Italy were granted a degree of regional autonomy in the 1948 constitution, which states that the constitutions role is: to recognize, protect and promote local autonomy, to ensure that services at the State level are as decentralized as possible, and to adapt the principles and laws... In Italy, a province (in Italian: provincia) is an administrative division of intermediate level between municipality (comune) and region (regione). ... In Italy, the comune, (plural comuni) is the basic administrative unit of both provinces and regions, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality. ...


Since the Meiji restoration, Japan has had a local government system based on prefectures. The national government oversees much of the country. Municipal governments consist from historical villages. Now merger and restoration of those municipal governments are undergoing for cost effective administration. In between are the 47 prefectures which are made up by area and population. They have two main responsibilities. One is mediation between national and municipal governments. The other is area wide administration. The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... The term prefecture (from the Latin Praefectura) indicates the office, seat, territorial circonscription of a Prefect. ... The prefectures of Japan are the countrys 47 sub-national jurisdictions: one metropolis (都 to), Tokyo; one circuit (道 dō), Hokkaidō; two urban prefectures (府 fu), Osaka and Kyoto; and 43 other prefectures (県 ken). ...

The Netherlands

Main articles: Municipal politics in the Netherlands and Provincial politics in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has three tiers of government. There are two levels of local government in The Netherlands, the provinces and the municipalities. The water boards are also part of the local government. Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain...

The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces. They form the tier of administration between the central government and the municipalities. Each province is governed by a provincial council (Provinciale Staten). Its members are elected every four years. The day-to-day management of the province is in the hands of the provincial executive (Gedeputeerde Staten). Members of the executive are chosen by the provincial council from among its own members and like the members of the provincial council serve for a period of four years. Members elected to the executive have to give up their membership of the provincial council. The size of the executive varies from one province to another. In Flevoland, the smallest of the Dutch provinces, it has four members, while most other provinces have six or seven. Meetings of the provincial executive are chaired by the Queen's Commissioner. The Queen's Commissioner (Commissaris van de Koningin) is not elected by the residents of the province, but appointed by the Crown (the Queen and government ministers). The appointment is for six years and may be extended by a second term. The Queen's Commissioner can be dismissed only by the Crown. Queen's Commissioners play an important part in the appointment of municipal mayors. When a vacancy arises, the Queen's Commissioner first asks the municipal council for its views as to a successor, then writes to the Minister of the Interior recommending a candidate. The modern day Netherlands are divided into twelve provinces (provincies in Dutch), listed below with their capital city: Map of the Netherlands, with provinces and capital cities See also the ranked list of Dutch provinces // Structure A Dutch province represents the administrative layer in between the national government and the... Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. ... There are two levels of local government in The Netherlands, the provinces and the municipalities. ...

Municipalities form the lowest tier of government in the Netherlands, after the central government and the provinces. There are 458 of them (1 January 2006). The municipal council (gemeenteraad) is the highest authority in the municipality. Its members are elected every four years. The role of the municipal council is comparable to that of the board of an organisation or institution. Its main job is to decide the municipality's broad policies and to oversee their implementation. The day-to-day administration of the municipality is in the hands of the municipal executive (college van burgemeester en wethouders, abbreviated to B&W), made up of the mayor (Burgemeester) and the aldermen. The executive implements national legislation on matters such as social assistance, unemployment benefits and environmental management. It also bears primary responsibility for the financial affairs of the municipality and for its personnel policies. Aldermen (Wethouders) are appointed by the council. Councillors can be chosen to act as aldermen. In that case, they lose their seats on the council and their places are taken by other representatives of the same political parties. Non-councillors can also be appointed. Unlike councillors and aldermen, mayors are not elected (not even indirectly), but are appointed by the Crown. Mayors chair both the municipal council and the executive. They have a number of statutory powers and responsibilities of their own. They are responsible for maintaining public order and safety within the municipality and frequently manage the municipality's public relations. As Crown appointees, mayors also have some responsibility for overseeing the work of the municipality, its policies and relations with other government bodies. Although they are obliged to carry out the decisions of the municipal council and executive, they may recommend that the Minister of the Interior quash any decision that they believe to be contrary to the law or against the public interest. Mayors are invariably appointed for a period of six years and are normally re-appointed automatically for another term, provided the municipal council agrees. They can be dismissed only by the Crown and not by the municipal council.

Water boards are among the oldest government authorities in the Netherlands. They literally form the foundation of the whole Dutch system of local government; from time immemorial they have shouldered the responsibility for water management for the residents of their area. In polders this mainly involves regulating the water level. It has always been in the common interest to keep water out and polder residents have always had to work together. That is what led to the creation of water boards. The structure of the water boards varies, but they all have a general administrative body, an executive board and a chairperson. The general administrative body consists of people representing the various categories of stakeholders: landholders, leaseholders, owners of buildings, companies and, since recently, all the residents as well. Importance and financial contribution decide how many representatives each category may delegate. Certain stakeholders (e.g. environmental organisations) may be given the power to appoint members. The general administrative body elects the executive board from among its members. The government appoints the chairperson (Dijkgraaf) for a period of six years. The general administrative body is elected for a period of four years (as individuals, not party representatives). Unlike municipal council elections, voters do not usually have to go to a polling station but can vote by mail or even by telephone.

New Zealand

New Zealand has two tiers of authorities. The top tier comprises the regional councils. The second tier is the territorial authorities consisting of city councils, district councils and one island council. Four territorial authorities are unitary authorities, in that they also perform the functions of a regional council. This also covers territorial problems. Region is the formal term for the top tier of local government in New Zealand. ... Territorial authorities is the formal term for the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. ... A map showing the major cities and towns of New Zealand. ... A unitary authority is a type of local authority, which has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area. ...


Norway's regional administration is organised in 19 counties (fylke), with 18 of them subdivided into 431 municipalities (kommune) per January 1, 2006. The municipal sector is a provider of vital services to the Norwegian public, accounting for about 20% of Norwegian GNP and 24% of total employment.


Main article: Local government in the Philippines

For a description of the arrangements in force, see the section on Regions and Provinces in the article on the Philippines. Institute of Development Management and Governance [1]

United Kingdom

The system of local government is different in each of the four countries of the United Kingdom.


The most complex system is in England, the result of numerous reforms and reorganisation over the centuries. The United Kingdom is divided into four parts, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ...

England is subdivided on different levels: For local government purposes, England is divided into three types of areas - non-unitary authorities, unitary authorities, and London boroughs. ...

The top level of local government within England are the nine regions. Each region has a government office and assorted other institutions. Only the London region has a directly elected administration. Only one other regional referendum has been held to date to seek consent for the introduction direct elections elsewhere - in the northeast of England - and this was soundly rejected by the electorate. The region (sometimes known as Government Office Region) is currently the highest level of local government in England. ...

The layers of government below the regions are mixed.

Historic counties still exist with adapted boundaries, although in the 1990s some of the districts within the counties became separate unitary authorities and a few counties have been disbanded completely. There are also metropolitan districts in some areas which are similar to unitary authorities. In Greater London there are 32 London boroughs which are a similar concept. The traditional counties as usually portrayed. ... The districts of England are a level of subnational division of England used for the purposes of local government. ... A unitary authority is a type of local authority, which has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area. ... A metropolitan borough (or metropolitan district) is a type of local government district in England, covering urban areas within metropolitan counties. ... The administrative area of Greater London contains thirty-two London boroughs. ...

Counties are further divided into districts (also known as boroughs in some areas). The Districts of England are the lowest level of local government in England except for civil parishes. ...

Districts are divided into wards for electoral purposes. A ward is an electoral district used in local politics, most notably in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and many cities in the United States and the federal district of Washington, DC. A ward in England is an electoral district represented by...

Districts may also contain parishes and town council areas with a small administration of their own. A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ...

Other area classifications are also in use, such as health service and Lord-Lieutenant areas. Flag of a Lord Lieutenant The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarchs personal representatives around the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. ...

See also:

The Ceremonial counties of England are areas of England that are appointed a Lord-Lieutenant, and are defined by the government with reference to the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England. ... Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of English administrative division used for the purposes of local government. ...

Northern Ireland

Main article: Local government in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is divided into 26 districts. Local government in Northern Ireland does not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the United Kingdom. The Northern Irish Department of the Environment has announced plans to decrease the number of councils to 11. This article is about the constituent country. ... The Department of the Environment (DOE) is a government department of the Northern Ireland Executive responsible for environmental policy. ...


Main article: Local government in Wales

Wales has a uniform system of 22 unitary authorities, referred to as counties or county boroughs. There are also communities, equivalent to parishes.


Local government in Scotland is arranged on the lines of unitary authorities, with the nation divided into 32 council areas. The local government of Scotland is organised into 32 unitary authorities covering the mainland and islands of Scotland. ... This article is about the country. ... A unitary authority is a type of local authority, which has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area. ... The council areas of Scotland form the local government areas of Scotland, all of them unitary authorities. ...

United States

Local government of the United States refers to the governments at the city, town, village, or civil township level in the United States of America. In the more general sense, local government also refers to state government, regional government, and county government. Local government of the United States refers to local government at the city, town, village, or civil township level within the United States of America. ... Local government of the United States refers to local government at the city, town, village, or civil township level within the United States of America. ... For other uses, see City (disambiguation). ... Ronda, Spain Main street in Bastrop, Texas, United States, a small town A town is a community of people ranging from a few hundred to several thousands, although it may be applied loosely even to huge metropolitan areas. ... Masouleh village, Gilan Province, Iran. ... A civil township is a widely-used unit of local government in the United States, subordinate to a county. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... A U.S. state is any one of the 50 states which have membership of the federation known as the United States of America (USA or U.S.). The separate state governments and the U.S. federal government share sovereignty. ... A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ...

See also

Local eGovernment is eGovernment as it relates to local government. ... ... Public Administration can be broadly described as the development, implementation and study of government policy. ... Tertiary government usually refers to the lowest organizational level of government within three-layered federal systems. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Palace of Europe The Congress of the Council of Europe (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe) is one of the institutions of the Council of Europe. ...


  1. ^ Fact Sheet: Governement in Canada
  • The Congress in brief
  • Rural local self-government challenges and development prospects by Rukhman Adukov

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