Opinions on Municipalities of Brazil

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The municipalities of Brazil (Portuguese: Municípios do Brasil) are administrative divisions of the Brazilian states. At present date, Brazil has 5,570 municipalities, making the average municipality population 34,361. The average state in Brazil has 214 municipalities. Roraima is the least subdivided state, with 15 municipalities, while Minas Gerais is the most subdivided state, with 853. The Federal District, where the national capital, Brasília, is located, cannot be divided in municipalities (according the Brazilian Constitution, the Federal District absorbs the constitutional and legal powers, attributions and obligations of states and municipalities).

The 1988 Brazilian Constitution treats the municipalities as parts of the Federation and not simply dependent subdivisions of the states. Each municipality has an autonomous local government, comprising a mayor (Prefeito) and a legislative body (Câmara Municipal). Both the local government and the legislative body are directly elected by the population every four years. These elections take place at the same time all over the country; the last municipal elections were held on October 7, 2012. Each municipality has the constitutional power to approve its own laws and collects taxes and also receives funds from the state and federal governments. However, municipal governments have no judicial power, and courts are only organised at the state or federal level. A subdivision of the state judiciary, or comarca, can either correspond to an individual municipality or encompass several municipalities.

The seat of the municipal administration is a denominated city, with no consideration from the law about the population, area or facilities. The city has the same name of the municipality. Municipalities can be subdivided, only for administrative purposes, in districts (normally, new municipalities are formed from these districts). Other populated sites are villages, but with no legal effects or regulation.

Municipalities can be split or merged to form new municipalities within the borders of the state, if the population of the involved municipalities express a desire to do so in a plebiscite. However, these must abide by the Federal Constitution, and forming exclaves or seceding from the state or union is expressly forbidden.

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