Administrative divisions of Serbia
The territorial organization of Serbia is regulated by the Law on Territorial Organization, adopted by the National Assembly of Serbia on 29 December 2007. Under the Law, the units of the territorial organization are: municipalities, cities and autonomous provinces.
Serbia has two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina in the north (39 municipalities and 6 cities) and Kosovo and Metohija in the south (28 municipalities and 1 city). The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (or just Kosovo for short) has been transferred to the administration of UNMIK since June 1999. In February 2008, the Government of Kosovo declared its independence, a move recognized by 110 countries (including most of the European Union and the United States) but not recognized by Serbia, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia or the United Nations.
The area that lies between Vojvodina and Kosovo was called Central Serbia before 2009. Central Serbia was not an administrative division (unlike the autonomous provinces), and it did not have any regional authority of its own. In 2009-2010, the territory of Central Serbia was divided into 3 statistical regions and it is no longer regarded as a single statistical unit by the government of Serbia.
In 2009, the National Assembly of Serbia adopted the Law on Equal Territorial Development that formed 7 statistical regions in the territory of Serbia. The Law was amended on 7 April 2010, reducing the number of regions from seven to five. The Eastern Serbia was merged with Southern Serbia and Šumadija was merged with Western Serbia.
The five statistical regions of Serbia:
Municipalities, cities and districts
Municipalities are the basic entities of local self-government in Serbia. Each municipality has an assembly (elected every 4 years in local elections), a municipal president, public service property and a budget. Municipalities usually have more than 10,000 inhabitants.
Municipalities comprise local communities, which mostly correspond to settlements (villages) in the rural areas (several small villages can comprise one local community, and large villages can contain several communities). Urban areas are also divided into local communities. Their roles include communication of elected municipal representatives with citizens, organization of citizen initiatives related with public service and communal issues. They are presided over by councils, elected in semi-formal elections, whose members are basically volunteers. The role of local communities is far more important in rural areas; due to proximity to municipal centers, many urban local communities are defunct.
Cities are another type of local self-government. Territories with the status of "city" usually have more than 100,000 inhabitants, but are otherwise very similar to municipalities. There are 23 cities, each having an assembly and budget of its own. Only cities have mayors, although the presidents of the municipalities are often referred to as "mayors" in everyday usage.
The city may or may not be divided into "city municipalities". Five cities, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Požarevac and Kragujevac comprise several municipalities, divided into urban and suburban areas. Competences of cities and their municipalities are divided. Of those, only Novi Sad did not undergo the full transformation, as the newly formed municipality of Petrovaradin exists only formally; thus, the Municipality of Novi Sad is largely equated to City of Novi Sad (and the single largest municipality in the country, with around 300,000 residents).
Municipalities and cities are gathered into larger entities known as districts, which are regional centers of state authority, but have no assemblies of their own; they present purely administrative divisions, and host various state institutions such as funds, office branches and courts. Districts are not defined by the Law on Territorial Organisation, but are organised under the Government's Enactment of 29 January 1992.
Serbia is divided into 29 districts (7 in Vojvodina, 5 in Kosovo, and 17 in the rest of Serbia), while the city of Belgrade presents a district of its own.
Subdivisions of Kosovo
Although the Serbian laws treat Kosovo as every other part of Serbia, and divide it into 5 districts, 28 municipalities and 1 city, the UNMIK administration adopted new territorial organisation of Kosovo in 2000. This move is not recognized by Serbia, but is recognized by the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. According to the new subdivision, Kosovo is divided into 7 (new) districts and 37 municipalities (8 new municipalities were created: Mališevo, Elez Han, Gračanica, Junik, Klokot-Vrbovac, Mamuša, Parteš and Ranilug). The "Serb" districts function in the areas where Kosovo Serbs live, but are only recognized by Serbs, while the "UNMIK" districts, which function in all of Kosovo, are recognized only by Kosovo Albanians.
- List of regions of Serbia
- Districts of Serbia
- Municipalities and cities of Serbia
- List of cities in Serbia
- List of populated places in Serbia
- Historical administrative divisions of Serbia
- ISO 3166-2:RS
- Law on Territorial Organization and Local Self-Government, Parliament of Serbia (Serbian)
- Lokalni i pokrajinski izbori u maju, b92, 29 December 2007 (Serbian)
- Government of Serbia: Districts In Serbia
- Republic of Serbia (in Serbian). Закон о утврђивању надлежности Аутономне Покрајине Војводине [The Law Establishing the Jurisdiction of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina]. Wikisource. (Serbian)
- Sedam regiona za ravnomerniji razvoj Politika, 5 June 2009 (Serbian)
- National Assembly of Serbia site: ZAKON o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o regionalnom razvoju
- Predlaže se smanjenje statističkih regiona sa sedam na pet Archived March 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., 4 February 2010 (Serbian)
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo: Municipal profiles