Fundamental concept of local self-government reform in the Russian Federation is to make authority as close as possible to people and provide its real participation in implementation of power authorization at the local level.
Formation of institutions of local self-government of the Republic of Karelia according to the Federal Law of October 6, 2003, N131-FZ On General Principles of Local Self-Government Organization in the Russian Federation in the Republic of Karelia has begun in October, 2005. All necessary spade-work for implementation of articles of the law has been carried out. In the republic there has been formed 127 municipal units including:
- 87 rural settlements;
- 22 urban settlements;
- 16 metropolitan regions;
- 2 urban districts (Petrozavodsk and Kostomuksha).
Under the operating Russian legislation representative bodies and heads of settlements are elected during municipal election on the basis of common equal right of direct elections by secret ballot. Head of the settlement simultaneously heads administration of the corresponding settlement (personnel from 2 to 15 employees). Chairmen of Settlement Councils are heads of representative bodies elected from among deputies of settlement and, as a rule, work on a non-permanent basis.
Representative bodies of metropolitan regions:
- may be both selected on the basis of common equal right of direct elections by secret ballot,
- and may be formed of heads and deputies of representative bodies of settlements comprising this municipal area.
Heads of metropolitan regions and urban districts:
- may be elected by direct vote;
- may be elected from among deputies of metropolitan regions.
At that Heads elected by direct elections may govern either regional representative body, or its administration. All these norms are applied according to Charters of municipal units.
In the Republic of Karelia there are various procedures of forming local government institutions.
Representative bodies of metropolitan regions (Councils):
- in Petrozavodsk and Kostomuksha urban districts, Pitkäranta, Sortavala, Olonets, Kondopoga, Prionezhsky, Lahdenpohja metropolitan regions representative bodies are formed by results of direct elections.
- in Kalevala, Louhi, Muezersky, Kem, Byelomorsk, Pudozh, Segezha, Medvezhiegorsk, Suojärvi, Pryazha metropolitan regions representative bodies are formed of Heads and deputies of representative bodies of settlements;
- in Petrozavodsk urban district, Lahdenpohja, Sortavala, Prionezhsky metropolitan regions Heads are elected by direct elections and simultaneously head Administrations of these regions, while heads of representative bodies (Councils) are elected from among deputies;
- in Kem, Kondopoga, Segezha, Olonets metropolitan regions, Kostomuksha urban district Heads of municipal units are elected by direct elections and head the representative body, while Heads of Administrations are appointed under the contract.
Heads of Administrartions of metropolitan regions and urban districts:
- based on the results of elections - in Petrozavodsk urban district, Lahdenpohja, Sortavala, Prionezhsky metropolitan regions;
- under the contract on competition basis - Kostomuksha urban district, Kalevala, Louhi, Muezersky, Kem, Byelomorsk, Pudozh, Pitkäranta, Segezha, Medvezhiegorsk, Olonets, Suojärvi, Pryazha, Kondopoga metropolitan regions.
As a result, management at the level of metropolitan regions was renewed by 80%.
To complete vicinal tasks settlements are delegated 31 authorities, and metropolitan regions are delegated 28. The urban district has 36 authorities.
Federal Law N131-FZ empowers settlements to covenant for transfer of specific authority to the level of metropolitan regions.
Such mechanism allows to consider various levels of social and economic development of rural territories, lead necessary preparatory measures and create preconditions allowing institutions of local government of settlements exercise differentiate approach in implementation of authorities assigned to them, being realistic in gauging their strength and opportunities.
Stage of organizational and legal maintenance of local self-government reform comes to the end in the Republic of Karelia, and since January 1, 2008, all urban and rural municipal units of the republic will start to exercise legally provided authorities in full.