POPULATION (Census 2008): 13,077,160
AREA: 118,484 sq km
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: -
CURRENCY: kwacha (MWK)
HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT: President Bingu wa Mutharika
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: republic
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: unicameral
STATE STRUCTURE: unitary
LANGUAGES: English and Chichewa (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: 2009; turnout: - next: 2014
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: 2000; turnout: 14.2%; next: April 2011
Malawi is a democratic republic with two spheres of government: national and local. Local government is enshrined in chapter XIV of the constitution and responsibility for its administration rests with the Minister of Local Government and Community Development. The local government system has 34 single-tier authorities: 28 rural district councils, and two municipal councils. The councils are responsible for raising and collecting local taxes and user fees and charges; however, the majority of their revenue comes through central government grants, both conditional (sectoral funds) and unconditional (general resource funds). All councils have the same responsibilities including primary education, primary health, forestry, natural resources and community services.
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22 May 2011: Local elections scheduled for April 2011 have been postponed due to the temporary closure of the Malawi Electoral Commission offices, which have since reopened. No rescheduled date has yet been set.