|What is a municipio?
|The basic unit of Mexican government is the municipio (municipality, city/county) usually named after its
major town and usually with a minimum of 25,000 inhabitants (in Veracruz).
At last count there were 2438 municipios in Mexico and 212 in the state of Veracruz. Depending on who is
counting, there are 10 municipios in Los Tuxtlas.
Article 115 of the 1917 Mexican constitution proclaims the autonomy of local governments according to the
principle of "free city" (municipio libre ), stemming from the middle ages.
Although they are authorized to collect property taxes and user fees, municipalities have historically lacked
the means to do so, and relied mainly on transfers from state governments for most of their revenues. A
1984 constitutional amendment to Article 115 expanded municipalities' authority to raise revenue and
formulate budgets. Further federal programs have now transferred reliance on revenue to many federal
sources of revenue, thereby undermining the previous strangle holds by state governments in exchange
for federal strangle holds. (see Wikipedia)
Most municipios create heraldic emblems to represent them.
Every 3 years or so, depending on whether someone goes to jail or dies, a king gets chosen in Catemaco.
He is called Presidente Municipal Constitucional and gets one term only, but repeatable after a 3 year
Technically he shares the power of office with a sindico unico and several regidores. The closest I can
get to translating these functions is city attorney/auditor and city counselors. In addition, a presidente will
appoint a secretary and treasurer.
Although numerous laws and regulations define and limit the role of a municipal president, in effect he has
almost dictatorial powers, and slthough judicial and legislative powers are reserved to the state, they are
often circumvented by a presidente's clout. .
The entire government structure is referred to as ayuntamiento (city hall).
Elections are along party lines. By law the winning party gets the presidencia and the sindico unico
position. The regidores offices are proportionally assigned to all parties, including the winning one. The
total number of regidores are assigned by the state according to latest census figures.
To be elected and be part of the ayuntamiento government, candidates must be a Mexican citizen, a 5 year
resident of Veracruz and can´t be a religious minister, among other requirements.