Administratively, Paraguay is organised into departments, which are further divided into municipalities. As the seat of government and principal city, the municipality of Asunción is the only municipality not to form a part of any department. Based on information from 2014 and a Ministry of Finance study, only 6.6 % of the national budget is administered by municipal government, 31 % of which is administered by the Municipality of Asunción. In the 2017 budget, the municipality of Asunción had a budget of $210 million.
Asunción’s is governed by the Intendencia Municipal, or Municipal Administration and the Junta Municipal, or Municipal Board. The Municipal Administration is in charge of the general administration of the municipality. The Mayor, head of the Munucipal Adminsitration, is elected by the city’s registered voters in a universal, direct vote by secret ballot. These elections are held every 5 years.
The Municipal Board is the city’s regulatory, deliberative body. It is made up of 24 assembly members chosen from multi-party lists (3 women and 21 men were elected in the last elections). These elections are also by direct vote and secret ballot. The term is 5 years for both bodies, with the present government inaugurated in January 2015 for a term lasting until January 2020.
The Municipal Assembly is led by Mario Ferreiro [interview on Urban Resilience] who represents several social and political groups/organisations. The governance of the Municipal Board is based on political agreements and participation between various groups and parties.
Local Government Organisational Structure and Characteristics
Asunción’s municipal government is organised into 9 General Directorates. Their management features depend directly on the General Secretariat, the Private Secretariat, the Directorate of Legal Affairs, the Planning and Innovation Directorate and the Communication Directorate all report directly to the Mayor.
The principal duties of the Mayor are:
- Legal representation of the municipality.
- Enact, implement and regulate byelaws.
- Present draft byelaws to the Municipal Board.
- Organisational regulation: coordinate and supervise the running of administrative and technical bodies
- Raise and invest municipal income.
- Prepare the draft budget and implement the municipal budget.
The Mayor is responsible for the administration and management of the Municipality at all levels and delegates tasks according to general and specific regulations.
Local Service Provision
Drinking water provision: not the municipal government’s direct responsibility.
Refuse collection and disposal: municipal government’s responsibility (15 % of the municipality’s total budget – 2017) including city cleaning.
Healthcare services: currently in the process of being decentralised, few municipal services (health centres make up 1 % of the budget – 2017).
Education: the municipality manages infrastructure and equips municipal schools with resources.
Security: Asunción has a municipal police force (less than 1 % of the budget).
In Paraguay, the principal responsibilities of Municipalities within their territories are collection and disposal of waste; street cleaning and upkeep of public spaces; traffic; sewage networks; public transport; land management; public safety.