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divisions of Poland
| Voivodeships |
The gmina (Polish: [ˈɡmʲina] , plural gminy [ˈɡmʲinɨ] ) is the principal unit of the administrative division of Poland, similar to a municipality. As of 1 January 2019 [update] , there were 2,477 gminas throughout the country, encompassing over 43,000 villages. 940 gminas include cities and towns, with 302 among them constituting an independent urban gmina (Polish : gmina miejska) consisting solely of a standalone town or one of the 107 cities, the latter governed by a city mayor (prezydent miasta).
The gmina has been the basic unit of territorial division in Poland since 1974, when it replaced the smaller gromada (cluster). Three or more gminas make up a higher level unit called powiat , except for those holding the status of a city with powiat rights. Each and every powiat has the seat in a city or town, in the latter case either an urban gmina or a part of an urban-rural one.
There are three types of gmina:
Some rural gminy have their seat in a town which itself is outside of the gmina's territory. For example, the rural Gmina Augustów is administered from the town of Augustów, but does not include the town, as Augustów is an urban type gmina in its own right.
107 urban gminas constitute cities, distinguished from towns through being governed by a city mayor (prezydent miasta) instead of a town mayor (burmistrz), the status awarded automatically to all urban gminas over 100,000 inhabitants or those with a status of a city with powiat rights, with some others allowed to retain the earlier awarded title due to historical reasons. 66 among the 107 cities (including all voivodeship seats and all cities over 100,000 inhabitants) have the special status of city with powiat rights (miasto na prawach powiatu). Such a city exercises also powers and duties of a powiat while not belonging to any; nevertheless, it may still be a seat of a regular powiat, albeit without belonging to it administratively (such powiat thus being often "doughnut-shaped"). In such cities, the roles of the powiat organs are fulfilled by the ones of the urban gmina.
For a complete listing of all the gminy in Poland, see List of Polish gminas.
Polish gminas operate under a mayor-council government.
The legislative and oversight body of each gmina is the elected municipal council (rada gminy), in an urban-rural gmina called the town and gmina council (rada miasta i gminy), while in an urban gmina it is called the town/city council (rada miasta).
Any local laws considered non-compliant with the national ones may be invalidated by the respective voivode, whose rulings may be appealed to an administrative court. Decisions in individual cases may in turn be appealed to quasi-judicial bodies named local government boards of appeal, their ruling subject to appeal to an administrative court.
Executive power is held in the municipality by a directly elected official, called wójt in rural gminy, a town mayor (burmistrz) in urban-rural and most urban gminas which contain towns, or a city mayor (prezydent miasta) in the 107 urban gminas containing cities, the status awarded automatically to all urban gminas over 100,000 inhabitants or those with a status of a city with powiat rights, with some others allowed to retain the earlier awarded title due to historical reasons. A town or city mayor may be scrutinized or denied funding for his/her projects by the council, but is not politically responsible to it and does not require its confidence to remain in office; therefore, cohabitation is not uncommon.
In a city with powiat rights, the city mayor additionally has the powers and duties of a powiat executive board and a starosta, while the city council has the powers and duties of a powiat (county) council; both nevertheless being elected under the municipal election rules rather than those applicable to county elections.
A recall referendum may be triggered either in respect to the wójt/town mayor/city mayor or to the municipal council through a petition supported by at least 1/10 of eligible voters, but the turnout in the recall referendum must be at least 3/5 of the number of people voting in the original election in order for the referendum to be valid and binding. In addition, elected bodies of any municipality may be suspended by the Prime Minister of Poland in case of persisting law transgressions or negligence, resulting in such case in the municipality being placed under receivership.
A gmina may create auxiliary units (jednostki pomocnicze), which play a subordinate administrative role. In rural areas these are called sołectwa, in towns they may be dzielnice or osiedla and in an urban-rural gmina, the town itself may be designated as an auxiliary unit. The only gmina which is statutorily obliged to have auxiliary units is Warsaw, which is divided since 2002 into 18 boroughs exercising some devolved powers, though not considered separate entities.
Each gmina carries out two classes of tasks:
The tasks can be also divided into another two categories:
Own tasks include matters such as spatial harmony, real estate management, environmental protection and nature conservation, water management, country roads, public streets, bridges, squares and traffic systems, water supply systems and source, the sewage system, removal of urban waste, water treatment, maintenance of cleanliness and order, sanitary facilities, dumps and council waste, supply of electric and thermal energy and gas, public transport, health care, welfare, care homes, subsidised housing, public education, cultural facilities including public libraries and other cultural institutions, historic monuments conservation and protection, the sports facilities and tourism including recreational grounds and devices, marketplaces and covered markets, green spaces and public parks, communal graveyards, public order and safety, fire and flood protection with equipment maintenance and storage, maintaining objects and devices of the public utility and administrative buildings, pro-family policy including social support for pregnant women, medical and legal care, supporting and popularising the self-government initiatives and cooperation within the commune including with non-governmental organizations, interaction with regional communities from other countries, etc.
Commissioned tasks cover the remaining public tasks resulting from legitimate needs of the state, commissioned by central government for the units of local government to implement. The tasks are handed over on the basis of statutory by-laws, charters and regulations, or by way of agreements between the self-government units and central-government administration.
|Number of gminy by voivodeship|
|of which: rural gminy with their seat outside the gmina||14||13||17||5||15||9||15||0||12||12||13||0||1||15||11||8||160|
Abbreviations used for voivodeships:
LS: Lower Silesian Voivodeship, KP: Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, LBL: Lublin Voivodeship, LBS: Lubusz Voivodeship,
ŁD: Łódź Voivodeship, LP: Lesser Poland Voivodeship, MS: Masovian Voivodeship, OP: Opole Voivodeship,
SK: Subcarpathian Voivodeship, PD: Podlaskie Voivodeship, PM: Pomeranian Voivodeship, SL: Silesian Voivodeship,
ŚWK: Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, WM: Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, GP: Greater Poland Voivodeship, WP: West Pomeranian Voivodeship.
|LARGEST||Population (2006 estimate)||Land area in km2||Population density |
|Urban||Warsaw (1,697,596)||Warsaw (517.22)||Świętochłowice (4,156.80)|
|Rural||Gmina Chełmiec (24,344)||Gmina Wałcz (574.89)||Gmina Buczkowice (542.70)|
|Urban-rural||Gmina Piaseczno (61,525)||Gmina Pisz (633.69)||Gmina Wołomin (801.69)|
|Town in urban-rural gmina||Gmina Nysa: Nysa (47,545)||Gmina Szczytna: Szczytna (80.38)||Gmina Swarzędz: Swarzędz (3,469.23)|
|Rural part of urban-rural gmina||Gmina Wieliczka: rural part (28,864)||Gmina Pisz: rural part (623.61)||Gmina Świątniki Górne: rural part (407.86)|
|SMALLEST||Population (2006 estimate)||Land area in km2||Population density |
|Urban||Krynica Morska (1,364)||Górowo Iławeckie (3.32)||Krynica Morska (11.74)|
|Rural||Gmina Cisna (1,663)||Gmina Jejkowice (7.59)||Gmina Lutowiska (4.63)|
|Urban-rural||Gmina Nowe Warpno (1,559)||Gmina Świątniki Górne (20.35)||Gmina Nowe Warpno (7.88)|
|Town in urban-rural gmina||Gmina Wyśmierzyce: Wyśmierzyce (892)||Gmina Stawiszyn: Stawiszyn (0.99)||Gmina Suraż: Suraż (28.94)|
|Rural part of urban-rural gmina||Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (363)||Gmina Suchedniów: rural part (15.54)||Gmina Nowe Warpno: rural part (2.09)|
In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official in a municipal government such as that of a city or a town. Worldwide, there is a wide variance in local laws and customs regarding the powers and responsibilities of a mayor as well as the means by which a mayor is elected or otherwise mandated. Depending on the system chosen, a mayor may be the chief executive officer of the municipal government, may simply chair a multi-member governing body with little or no independent power, or may play a solely ceremonial role. A mayor's duties and responsibilities may be to appoint and oversee municipal managers and employees, provide basic governmental services to constituents, and execute the laws and ordinances passed by a municipal governing body. Options for selection of a mayor include direct election by the public, or selection by an elected governing council or board.
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The administrative division of Poland since 1999 has been based on three levels of subdivision. The territory of Poland is divided into voivodeships (provinces); these are further divided into powiats, and these in turn are divided into gminas. Major cities normally have the status of both gmina and powiat. Poland currently has 16 voivodeships, 380 powiats, and 2,478 gminas.
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Gmina Puńsk is a rural gmina in Sejny County, Podlaskie Voivodeship, in north-eastern Poland, on the Lithuanian border. Its seat is the village of Puńsk, which lies approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-west of Sejny and 126 km (78 mi) north of the regional capital Białystok. The current mayor of Gmina Puńsk is Witold Liszkowski.
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A city with powiat rights is in Poland a designation denoting 66 of the 107 cities which exercise also the powers and duties of a county, thus being an independent city. Sometimes, such a city will also be referred to in Polish as city county ; this term however is not official. The contemporary term city with powiat rights should not be used interchangeably with the interwar city county.
The National Electoral Commission is the only permanent election commission in Poland. The second permanent electoral organs are komisarze wyborczy, which number is 51.
LGBT-free zones or LGBT ideology-free zones are municipalities and regions of Poland that have declared themselves unwelcoming of LGBT rights, in order to ban equality marches and other LGBT events. By June 2020, some 100 municipalities (map) and five voivodeships, encompassing a third of the country, had adopted resolutions which have been characterized as "LGBT-free zones". In September 2021, four of the voivodeships withdrew the measures, after the EU threatened to withhold funding. Poland's Human Rights Ombudsman challenged several LGBT-free zone resolutions and on 28 June 2022, a top Polish appeals court upheld lower court rulings that had annulled these resolutions, abolishing them in four municipalities. Supporters argue that the zones defend traditional family values, while opponents argue that the zones undermine the rights of LGBT people.