The basic units of local self-government are municipalities and urban municipalities. Municipalities are an equal partner of the state and are managed by three bodies: the mayor, the municipal council and the supervisory committee. The mayor and the municipal council members are elected by citizens in municipal elections every four years, while the supervisory committee is appointed by municipal councillors.
The municipal council is the highest decision-making body on all matters concerning the rights and duties of the municipality. It has from 7 to 45 members depending on the size of the municipality. In cases where the municipal council has up to 11 members, they are elected under a majority voting system, whereas if it has 12 members and more, they are elected under a proportional voting system. Members of a municipal council are elected for a four-year term of office and perform their duties on a non-professional basis.
In the ethnically mixed areas populated by the Italian or Hungarian national communities, each community has at least one representative in the municipal council. In twenty municipalities, the Roma also have at least one representative in the municipal council. Foreign nationals can also be elected into municipal councils.
Tasks and competences of the municipal council
The competences of the municipal council are regulated by the Act on Local Self-Government in conjunction with other regulations. The municipal council adopts the statute of the municipality, the municipal council rules of procedure, decrees and other municipal acts, land and other development plans of the municipality. It adopts the budget and annual financial statement of the municipality, appoints and dismisses members of the supervisory committee, working bodies of the municipal council and the founder’s representatives in public institution bodies and public undertakings founded by the municipality. It supervises the activities of the mayor, vice mayor and municipal administration regarding the implementation of the decisions of the municipal council, adopts decisions on the basis of regulations governing the management of the physical assets of the state and local self-governments, and performs other tasks stipulated by law or the statute of the municipality.
The mayor is elected under a majority voting system for a four-year term of office to represent the municipality and act on its behalf.
The mayor represents the municipal council, convenes and chairs the municipal council’s meetings but does not have the right to vote in these meetings. As mayor they have the exclusive competence to propose that the municipal council adopt the municipal budget, the annual financial statement of the budget and the act on the organisation of the municipal administration. In addition, they propose that the municipal council adopt decrees and other acts within the competence of the municipal council and provide for the implementation of decisions passed by the municipal council.
The mayor is a municipal official and may perform their office on a professional or a non-professional basis. They have at least one vice-mayor who is appointed from among the members of the municipal council.
The supervisory committee is the highest body of supervision of public expenditure in a municipality. It supervises the management of municipal property, the purpose and expediency of the use of budgetary funds, and the financial operations of budgetary fund users. The work of the supervisory committee is public. The supervisory committee adopts and publishes its own rules of procedure in accordance with the municipal statutes.
The members of the supervisory committee are appointed by the municipal council and perform their duties on a non-professional basis. Members of the municipal council, the mayor, the vice mayor, members of the councils of more specific parts of the municipality, the secretary of the municipality, employees of the municipal administration, members of the management of organisations that are budgetary fund users may not be members of the supervisory committee.