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Paraguay: Local Government
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > The Governmental System > 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 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

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Paraguay was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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