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Czech municipalities have record low number of residents

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Prague, Aug 17 (CTK) – Almost 90 percent of Czech municipalities have fewer than 2,000 residents and their average number of 1,640 is the lowest of all OECD countries, daily Pravo wrote on Thursday, referring to a study of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis (IDEA).

By contrast, the average number of inhabitants in municipalities is 7,320 in Germany and 15,500 in Poland, Pravo writes.

“Within the OECD countries, the Czech Republic has the highest share of the municipalities with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants,” the IDEA study said.

“This means that their mayors’ decision-making is closer to the residents, but it also means a low efficiency of the system,” it added.

“This also involves a weak election competition for the posts of town hall members and mayor,” the study said.

In the municipalities with 10,000-20,000 residents, there are roughly 8.8 candidates for a town hall member, in those under 2,000, it is only on average 2.2 candidates, the study said.

The narrow choice of the candidates brings about an insufficient number of skilled town hall members, Pravo writes.

While in the municipalities with 10,000-20,000 residents 68.3 percent of town hall members have higher education, the proportion is only 21.8 percent in those with fewer than 2,000, it adds.

In general, people with higher education than the national average tend to enter the election process. The share of university graduates on the lists of candidates is 27.4 percent, almost the double of the national average in the population over 29, Pravo writes.

Along with the falling size of municipalities, there is also the falling share of the town hall members who held some managerial or professional posts such as doctors, lawyers and teachers.

Such a job is held by 51.1 percent of town hall members in the municipalities with 10,000-20,000 residents, while in those under 1,000 residents only by 19 percent.

The study has also revealed that women tend to be undesirable on the level of local politics. On the lists of candidates, there are on average 33 percent of women, but in town halls there are only 27 percent of them.

Women only hold 23 percent of the posts of mayor, Pravo writes.

The study also shows that the posts of mayors are on average held by the people who are 3.9 years older than the people from the lists of candidates.

The average age of a mayor in the Czech Republic is almost 50, Pravo writes.

The study is based on the data on 233,000 candidates and 62,000 town hall members in 6,243 municipalities.

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