Country Listing

Paraguay Table of Contents


Local Government

Paraguay is a centralized republic with nineteen departments, fourteen of which are east of the Río Paraguay and the remainder in the Chaco region (see fig. 1). The capital, Asunción, is located in the Central Department. The central government exerts complete control over local administration. The departments are headed by government delegates (delegados de gobierno) who are appointed by the president and report to the minister of interior. Their duties are concerned primarily with public order and internal security. The departments are divided into municipalities--the local government unit--of which there were 200 in 1988.

A municipality consisted of a town or village and the surrounding rural area. In order to qualify as a municipality, an area had to have a minimum population of 10,000 in 1988, a central town or village with a defined geographical area, and sufficient financial resources to pay for its municipal needs.

There is no separate town or city government apart from the municipality. The municipality is limited in jurisdiction; it has no control over education, police, and social welfare matters or over public health except for urban sanitation. Each municipality has a presidentially appointed mayor (intendente) who acts as executive agent of the municipality. In addition, each municipality has a board (junta municipal) elected by local residents for a five-year term of office. A rural municipality is supervised by a local company police sergeant (sargento de companía) who reports both to the government delegate and the minister of interior.

Data as of December 1988