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Local Government System of France
Transcript of Local Government System of France
The Local Government Today
The local government system of France consists of the following components
France has 26 regions, 22 in metropolitan France and four overseas. The latter have a special status, being at the same time departments and regions. Created in 1955 to provide a framework for regional town and country planning, the region became a local authority in 1982. Its main spheres of competence are planning, regional town and country planning, economic development, vocational training, and the building, equipment and running costs of schools.
The decision-making organ is the regional council whose members are elected for six years. They are assisted by an economic and social committee. This committee must be consulted on the preparation and implementation of national plans, the establishment of the regional development plan and the major guidelines for the regional budget. The committee is also free to comment on any regional matter or, at the initiative of the regional council's chairman, any economic, social or cultural proposal. The regional council chairmen, elected by the councillors, are the region's executive authority. The March 1982 law also made several changes concerning financing. Any transfer of state competence to a local authority must be accompanied by a transfer of resources (chiefly fiscal). In practice, local taxes have tended to rise. Lastly, the 1982 law assigned to a new court, the regional audit chamber, responsibility for a posterior auditing of local authority accounts.
History of local Government
1- After the revolution of 1789 many important changes were brought about in the structure and powers of the local government. Whole France was divided into departments. The departments were further subdivided into arrondissements (districts).The districts were further divided into, cantons. The urban areas were divided into communes. France local governments a strong centralized character. With little changes, the same government system continues even today.
2- Local government in France has a long history of centralisation; the past 20 years have brought some radical changes. At first sight, the system may seem complex. France is one of the few countries in the European Union with four tiers of government - the state or central government, region, department and ‘communes
Departments are the largest unit in local government of France. The head of the department is known as the PREFET.He is appointed by the president of the republic on the permission of the minister of interior. The PREFET occupies a dual position. He is an agent of the central government and also the executive head of the department. He is responsible for enforcing laws in his department regarding education, sanitation, agriculture, highways and police etc.He is the head of the general council of the department .The general council of the department is elected for six years. The powers of the elected general council of each department are much weaker.
There are 100 departments in France, 96 in metropolitan France and four overseas (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Reunion and French Guiana). Established in 1789, the department has developed from a partially decentralized local authority to one with full powers of its own (since 1982). It has played a prominent role in the country's administrative and geographical organization.
The communes are the units of local government. The populations of communes are less than 1500 members. The executive head of the communes is the MAYOR who is elected by the municipal council .The duration of the MAYOR and municipal councilors are six years. The number of municipal councilors is proportional to the population. Municipal councilors lay down guidelines for municipal policy, manage municipal assets and decide how the municipal administration is to operate. The mayor is the chief executive head of the commune and also acts as the presiding officer of the municipal council. He cannot be removed by the council from his office before the expiry of the term. The mayor decisions regarding the local budget and local taxation must be approved by the prefect. If the mayor fails to obey the order of prefect, he or she may be dismissed by an executive order of the prefect. The commune, who dates from 1789, is the lowest tier of the French administrative hierarchy. There are nearly 37,000 communes; many more than are found in the other countries of the European Union. In France the term commune is applied to all municipalities whatever their size – 80 per cent of them have fewer than 1,000 residents. This situation has led the government to encourage smaller communes to merge to form urban communities (communautés urbanizes) or group together in associations of several communes (syndicates intercommunion)
Functions of Regions
some education, training and culture
some health areas
some transport areas
Local Government in France
The most important feature of the local government in France is its centralization. In local government is a unbroken chain from the communes right up to the ministry of interior at Paris. The local government in Franceis neither autonomous nor self governing but consists of suitable administrative divisions
Powers of the Department
social and some health care
some education, culture and heritage
some economic development areas
means of communication
Functions of Communities
some social services and health
some education, training and culture
some economic development
infrastructure and enviorment
ports, waterways and transport
The book How states are governed
by Muhammad Aslam Chaudary
The book politics of industrialzed and developing nations
Policy and politics volume 36