Local election

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In many parts of the world, local elections take place to select office-holders in local government, such as mayors and councillors. Elections to positions within a city or town are often known as "municipal elections". Their form and conduct vary widely across jurisdictions.


By area


Adopted by the Congress of the Council of Europe, The European Charter of Local Self-Government aims to establish basic European rules in order to measure and safeguard the rights of local authorities. The Charter commits the parties to applying basic rules guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. The Congress conducts two main activities so as to evaluate the Charter's implementation: local and regional election monitoring and observation. The Congress regularly observes local and/or regional elections in member and applicant countries, which allows the Council to monitor the state of local and regional democracy in the countries concerned. With regards to its monitoring mission, the Congress prepares monitoring reports.

Middle East

In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, local elections have proven to be easier to achieve than larger scale ones that affect the national or federal government. By giving voice to people on the smaller scales of government, over such issues as water supply, power, and sewer systems, confidence is thought to be built to eventually reform higher levels of government.

In more mature developed nations there is always an effort to get more information about candidates and options to people, and to keep the influence of larger national bodies like a political party to a minimum, as its ideological agenda is not typically that of any locality:

New Zealand

Local elections are held every three years to elect local government politicians for the two tiers of local government in New Zealand.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom the term local elections refers to county, unitary authority, borough, district, city, town and parish elections. These take place on the first Thursday of May every year. Councillors generally sit for four years. The number of independent (non-party) Councillors has declined over the past forty years - nowadays the overwhelming majority of local Councillors belong to one of the major parties.

United States

In the United States there is an increasing demand for electoral reform, including a call for instant-runoff voting to be used to select all major executives. This is thought to make it possible for small parties to compete, as in the case of Matt Gonzalez in San Francisco, California. Such a ballot reform is often a complement to moving towards a "strong mayor" system, such as in Baltimore, Maryland, or as recently advocated in Oakland, California.

Residents of Takoma Park, Maryland can vote in municipal elections when they turn sixteen - the first in the United States. [1]

See also

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Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-localised and has limited powers. While in some countries, "government" is normally reserved purely for a national administration (government), the term local government is always used specifically in contrast to national government – as well as, in many cases, the activities of sub-national, first-level administrative divisions. Local governments generally act only within powers specifically delegated to them by law and/or directives of a higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises a third or fourth tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government.

A councillor is a member of a local government council in some countries.

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The Greens – The Green Alternative is a green political party in Austria.

A town council, city council or municipal council is a form of local government for small municipalities.

Municipal borough Former type of British and Irish local government

Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002. Broadly similar structures existed in Scotland from 1833 to 1975 with the reform of royal burghs and creation of police burghs.

Election monitoring

Election monitoring involves the observation of an election by one or more independent parties, typically from another country or from a non-governmental organization (NGO). The monitoring parties aim primarily to assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of national legislation and of international election standards. There are national and international election observers. Monitors do not directly prevent electoral fraud, but rather record and report instances of suspicious practices. Election observation increasingly looks at the entire electoral process over a long period of time, rather than at election-day proceedings only. The legitimacy of an election can be affected by the criticism of monitors, unless they are themselves seen as biased. A notable individual is often appointed honorary leader of a monitoring organization in an effort to enhance legitimacy of the monitoring process.

Local government in the United States refers to governmental jurisdictions below the level of the state. Most states and territories have at least two tiers of local government: counties and municipalities. Louisiana uses the term parish and Alaska uses the term borough for what the U.S. Census Bureau terms county equivalents in those states. Civil townships or towns are used as subdivisions of a county in 20 states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.

Local government in the Republic of Ireland Tier of administration in Ireland

The functions of local government in the Republic of Ireland are mostly exercised by thirty-one local authorities, termed County, City, or City and County Councils. The principal decision-making body in each of the thirty-one local authorities is composed of the members of the council, elected by universal franchise in local elections every five years from multi-seat local electoral areas using the single transferable vote. Many of the authorities' statutory functions are, however, the responsibility of ministerially appointed career officials termed Chief executives. The competencies of the city and county councils include planning, transport infrastructure, sanitary services, public safety and the provision of public libraries. Each local authority sends representatives to one of three Regional Assemblies.

Leeds City Council Local government body in England

Leeds City Council is the local authority of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is a metropolitan district council, one of five in West Yorkshire and one of 36 in the metropolitan counties of England, and provides the majority of local government services in Leeds. It has the second-largest population of any council in the United Kingdom with approximately 800,000 inhabitants living within its area; only Birmingham City Council has more. Since 1 April 2014, it has been a constituent council of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Municipal elections in Barcelona are held every four years to elect the city council. The mayor is elected indirectly by the councillors on the first plenary session of the term.

A municipal council is the legislative body of a municipality or local government area. Depending on the location and classification of the municipality it may be known as a city council,town council, town board, community council, rural council,village council, or board of aldermen.

Peterborough City Council Local authority in England

Peterborough City Council is the local authority for Peterborough in the East of England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. The City was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1874; from 1888, it fell within the jurisdiction of the Soke of Peterborough county council and from 1965, Huntingdon and Peterborough county council. In 1974, it was replaced by a wholly new non-metropolitan district, broadly corresponding to the Soke, in the new enlarged Cambridgeshire. In 1998, Peterborough became independent of Cambridgeshire as a unitary authority, but the city continues to form part of that county for ceremonial purposes as defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997.

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European Charter of Local Self-Government International agreement defining the rights and duties of municipalities and regions

The European Charter of Local Self-Government was adopted under the auspices of the Congress of the Council of Europe and was opened for signature by the Council of Europe's member states on 15 October 1985. All Council of Europe member states are parties to the Charter. New member states of the Council of Europe are expected to ratify the Charter at the earliest opportunity.

The Chamber of Local Authorities is one of the two Chambers of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The Chamber is the voice of local authorities in the Council of Europe. It consists of 306 representatives from the Council's 46 member states, who either hold a general local authority mandate from direct elections or are politically accountable to a directly elected assembly. The Chamber provides an opportunity for local officials to discuss common concerns, share their experiences and develop relevant policies.

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2022 Redbridge London Borough Council election 2022 local election in Redbridge

The 2022 Redbridge London Borough Council election is currently taking place as of 5 May 2022. All 63 members of Redbridge London Borough Council will be elected. The elections will take place alongside local elections in the other London boroughs and elections to local authorities across the United Kingdom.


  1. Shin, Annys (3 November 2013). "Takoma Park 16-year-old savors his history-making moment at the polls". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 March 2021.