|Administrative divisions of Albania |
Ndarja Administrative e Republikës së Shqipërisë (Albanian)
|Number||12 counties; 61 municipalities|
|Areas||Total: 28,748 km2 (11,100 sq mi)|
Since the Declaration of Independence in 1912, Albania has undergone administrative territorial reforms a total of 21 times. Its administrative boundaries have been divided and/or merged into regions (krahina), prefectures, sub-prefectures, counties (qarqe), districts (rrethe), municipalities (bashki), cities, communes (komuna), neighborhoods (lagje), villages (fshatra) and localities. The country is presently divided into 12 counties, 61 municipalities and 373 administrative units.
Further information: Counties of Albania
Counties are the first level of local governance and are administered by the prefect (prefekti) and a county council (këshilli i qarkut). The prevect is appointed as a representative of the Council of Ministers. After 2000, there are 12 counties in total.
Further information: Municipalities of Albania
The second level of government is constituted by the municipalities (bashki), which have resulted from merging several former municipalities and communes. They are run by a mayor (kryebashkiak or kryetar bashkie) and a municipal council (këshilli bashkiak), elected every 4 years. The municipalities are further subdivided into administrative units (njësitë administrative). After 2014, there are 61 municipalities in total.
There are 373 units within Albania.
Following the proclamation of Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire, the first Albanian government led by Ismail Qemali accepted the administrative organization sanctioned in the "Appropriate Kanun of the Albanian Civil Administration" adopted on 22 November 1913, according to which the country was divided into three main levels. In the first level, the territory was divided into 8 prefectures (Durrës; Berat; Dibër; Elbasan; Gjirokastër; Korcë; Shkodër and Vlorë) governed by prefect. The second and third administrative divisions were the sub-prefectures and provinces.
On 10 April 1913, the Organic Statute of Albania was adopted, which was the first constitution of the modern state, which was a compromise between the Great Powers for the fundamental law that Albania would have under the monarchy of Prince Wilhelm Wied. The statute has a whole chapter in it that sanctioned the administrative division of Albania, where the preservation of the Ottoman names is noticed and meanwhile as alternative in some cases also the names that are in use today.
According to the statute, Albania was divided into 7 Sanxhaks as the first administrative units, which were the Sanjaks of: Shkodër, Elbasan, Dibër, Durrës, Korçë, Berat and Gjirokastër. While their capital would be the city from which they took their name, with the exception of the Sanjak of Dibra that the capital was later established, because as quoted in the statute, due to remaining outside the borders of today's Albania of the city of Dibra. In Article 98, the Sanjak of Dibra receives special attention as its composition is also sanctioned, saying that: It consists of the lands of former Sanjak of Dibra that have remained under Albania in addition to the lands of the former Vilayet of Kosovo (referring to Sanjak of Prizren) that only a small part was given to Albania. In the same article, the villages of Chameria that remain within the borders of Albania but that were once part of the Sanjak of Ioannina would join Sanjak of Gjirokastër (formerly known as Sanjak of Delvina); as well as the Kaza of Leskovik would pass to the Sanjak of Korçë. At the head of each Sanjak, thera are Mutasarrif which are appointed by the central government. On his responsibility were the local Gendarmerie and Militia and its main purpose was to maintain public order, implement decrees and inspect educational institutions. He in consultation with the Sanjak Council determined the annual budget of the sanjak.
The second administrative unit was the Kaza which were administered by the Kaymakam, and a council. The latter consisted of members appointed by law (a secretary, an accountant, and a director of land taxes), as well as 4 members elected by the Municipal Councils (Këshilli Komunal) at the invitation of Kaymakam. Kaymakam was responsible for Kaza's finances and public services, such as issuing passports. He himself was under Mutasarafi in rank and had to answer before him for a series of issues. Kaza was essentially an urban center without villages. It had one or more towns and its capital there was the City Hall (Bashkia).[a] The Municipal Council held meetings at City Hall at least once a week.
The third subdivision was Nahiye, which consisted of a group of villages with a total population of 4000–7000 people. They were administered by a Mudir (müdürs) and also had a municipal council composed of 4 councilors elected by a majority vote of Muhtars (heads of the constituent villages). Mudir was responsible for publishing and implementing laws, decrees, decisions and government ordinances; population census; and control of tax collection and levies.
During 1925–1945, the Albanian administrative territory was divided into several divisions. According to the "Municipal Organic Law" adopted in 1921 and thereafter, with the "Civil Code" adopted in February 1928, the administrative division was:
Municipality (Albanian: Bashki). Became operational after 1928. It was mainly an element used in settlements of urban areas or cities. They were governed by the mayor and municipal council elected by citizens every three years.
Village (Albanian: Fshat). The village was the initial unit of the local administration. The villages was ruled by the chief of village who was elected by the rural population where he ruled.
Commune (Albanian: Komunë). The communes also became operational after 1928 (before 1928 was called Provinces (Krahinë)). It included several villages on the basis of tradition and social relations, ease of communication, the possibility of realizing the needs of residents, etc. The communes center become the village where there were facilities to move the inhabitants or the goods of all the villages that were part of the commune.
Sub-prefecture (Albanian: Nënprefekturë). It was the third level of local government, led by the sub-prefect, who was nominated by the prefect. The functions of the sub-prefecture consisted in the organization of order, civil status services etc.
Prefecture (Albanian: Prefekturë). Was the largest local government unit. The prefecture and the sub-prefecture exercised only executive functions.
After the end of World War II, by mid-1946, Albania continued with the existing administrative division with 10 prefectures (prefekturë) and 61 sub-prefectures (nënprefekturë), but was abolished the element of commune (komunë) and municipality (bashki).
In September 1945, population census was conducted. By Law No. 284, dated August 22, 1946, the new administrative division was approved, which maintained as the first division level of 10 prefectures and lowered the number of sub-prefectures in 39 units, introducing a new element to the locality (lokalitet), but not much extended. In 1947, the locality gained extensive use by dividing the country into 10 prefectures, 2 subdivisions called districts (rrethe), and further into localities, villages and towns.
By law no. 1707, in 1953, was moved to a new administrative division, where as the largest administrative unit was admitted to be 10 counties (qark), divided into 49 districts and 30 localities.
In July 1958, the county was abolished, dividing the country into 26 districts. The city of Tirana maintained the level of the district. According to this division, there were 26 districts, 203 localities, 2655 villages, 39 cities and some of them had neighborhoods as the smallest administrative unit.
After 1967 a new sub-division called united villages (fshat i bashkuar) was introduced. In 1968 there were 26 districts, 437 united villages, 2641 villages, 65 cities and 178 urban neighborhoods. This administrative division was preserved until the late 1980s, with some minor changes. In 1990 there were 26 districts, 539 united villages, 2848 villages, 67 cities, 306 urban neighborhoods. The city of Tirana consisted of three regions, which included several neighborhoods.