Municipality and democracy

The democracy closest to the citizen is the municipal one. It is in our history, in our Constitution and above all in our real life. This natural connection occurs even in such a cautious framework for the creation of municipalities as ours has been, except in certain states, incomparable, for example, with our neighboring Colombia, which with fifty million inhabitants has one thousand one hundred twenty-two municipalities and special districts. Peru, with a population similar to that of Venezuela, has one thousand eight hundred and seventy-four municipalities and 196 provincial municipalities of the type of Lima itself.

The Federal and Decentralized State that defines article 4 of the Constitution and the territorial distribution of the Public Power of 136 begins with the municipal power. The municipalities, according to article 168 of the current Magna Carta, in fidelity to a long tradition, "constitute the primary political unit of the national organization." Next, what constitutes municipal autonomy, the cornerstone of the municipal contribution to the building of the Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice, which is structured as federal and, in an almost redundant but not superfluous insistence, decentralized is provided. Fidelity to this model survives in our Constitutional Law since 1811, interrupted from 1819 to 1857 and permanently vindicated since 1864, without even the most centralist practices, and even the dictatorial ones, daring to erase it.

The municipal is the closest democracy because its topics are everyday, such as streets and avenues, transportation and public lighting, urban planning, parks and squares, urban environment and cleaning, primary health care, basic services, markets and cemeteries. . Water and electricity are national here, but if they fail, the people complain to the mayor.

It can also be said that it is where the condition of "responsible government" of article 6 of the Constitution, as well as of the most elementary democratic logic, can be most effectively demanded.

Such forceful realities imply a call to common sense of us citizens, but also of those who are our leaders or aspire to be. The legislation must respect, promote and strengthen the municipality, never weaken it, and the political leadership cannot prioritize considerations of presumably strategic interest over the main duty of not leaving people and their local communities alone and to their fate.

 

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