The functioning of local government is regulated by the Law on Local Self-Government and the Local Administration, the Rules for the Organization and Activity of the Municipal Council, and the Municipal Administration Statutes.

The Municipal Council determines the policy of the Municipality concerning its development, addresses local problems related to the economy, the preservation of the environment, health, social, educational, cultural activity and utility services, territorial planning and development, municipal property, traffic safety, and public order.

The municipal administration includes the mayor, deputy mayors, secretary, divisions, and departments. The mayor is at the head of the executive power in the municipality. Under his direct authority are the Financial Activity unit, Defense and Mobilization Preparation Department, the Chief Legal Expert, as well as the mayors of mayoralties and the proxy mayors. There are three deputy mayors who are in charge of the following sectors: Community Planning, Infrastructure and Regional Development, Economic and Financial Policy, and Social and Integration Policy. The mayors of mayoralties and the proxy mayors have a number of powers in the areas of finance, planning and utilities, economic activities, administrative services, and security. The municipal administration supports the activity of the Municipal Council in accordance with the regulatory framework in force.

The Municipal Council meets at least once a month, the meetings can be regular (with a pre-established agenda) or extraordinary. A meeting can be convened by the chair or deputy chair on their own initiative, upon the request of 1/3 of the municipal councilors, upon the request of 1/5 of the voters, or upon the request of the district governor.

Draft decisions, ordinances, and instructions may be submitted by the standing committees, the municipal councilors, the mayor and the deputy mayors. The drafts are discussed in the committees in terms of the relevance, viability, and financing of the proposed decisions.

The meetings can be made public through live broadcasts in the electronic media upon decision by the Municipal Council or if deemed necessary by the Chair of the Municipal Council, subject to consultation with the deputy chairs. The common practice is for all of the meetings of the Municipal Council and those of the standing and ad hoc committees to be widely attended by media representatives.

The ethnic groups in the municipality traditionally demonstrate mutual religious and ethnic tolerance. The minorities are largely integrated in social life. One exception is the Gypsy ethic and cultural community, which is poor and marginalized. The existing problems with the integration of the Roma are typical not only of Bulgaria, but of Europe in general. There is much to be done in this respect, mainly in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and foreign donors.

The participation of the minorities in the Municipal Council is proportionate to their share of the municipality's population. Thus, the main minority group in the municipality - the Turkish one - makes up 8% of the population and its representatives in the Municipal Council constitute 7%. There are representatives of the ethnic minorities in the municipal administration and in the management of business entities that are of key importance to the municipal economy.

In order to guarantee the prospects for sustainable development of Svishtov Municipality as a cultural and education center and to enhance the quality of life, it is necessary to invest considerable efforts in youth programs and in involving young people in local self-government. The commitment to youth problems has become an immutable priority of the municipal authorities. Consultative Youth Council was established in Svishtov Municipality, which has regular meetings jointly with the Mayor and the municipal authorities. For the most part, the newly appointed experts and employees of Svishtov Municipality are 25-30 years old. There are efforts to make the most of the contacts and mutually beneficial initiatives with the young academic staff and students at Tsenov Academy of Economics-Svishtov. The public information center set up in the building of the Municipality is the outcome of such cooperation with young high-tech specialists. With the available resources the Municipality assists the sports clubs and organizations with eminent traditions and achievements.

The third sector has been assuming an ever more important role in social relations, turning into a mediator between the local government and civil society. Several non-governmental organizations are particularly active not only on a local, but on a national level, as well. About a dozen other non-governmental organizations have gained public esteem by organizing wide-ranging activities with a favorable impact in different areas. The Danube - South Euroregion Association is a newly established organization of municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria partnering with Romanian municipalities from the Teleorman region. Many hopes and expectations are associated with this organization, which represents a visiting card of the entire south Danube delta region. The founding of such an association facilitates integration in the regional programs of the European Union and access to a number of funds financing transborder cooperation between Romania and Bulgaria. An international foundation with definite contribution to Bulgarian culture and international interest in it is the Aleko Konstantinov Foundation - organizer of the Aleko satirical literary competition with the participation of writers from all Balkan countries. The Tsenov Foundation with the D.A.Tsenov Academy of Economics is a non-governmental organization that sponsors gifted students and academics doing research in the area of economics. The Danube Training and Development Center is a think tank that assists a great many municipalities, mostly in Northern Bulgaria, on a number of issues related to administration staff training, strategic planning, governance and economic activity. The Shtastlivetsa Youth Education Center and the Consultative Youth Council are active organizations promoting the involvement of young people in worthwhile initiatives and practices in the territory of Svishtov Municipality. The Rotaract Club-Svishtov and the International Association of Students in Economics (AIESEC) - Svishtov are part of the international networks of the respective clubs with consistent activities and presence in student life. The Bulgaria-Netherlands Association "Promoci - Bulgaria-Netherlands" has a social orientation and is among the most active non-governmental organizations in terms of international contacts and attracting foreign donors to help alleviate the hardships of the transition for the most affected social groups. >The Regional Small and Medium-Sized Business Center - Svishtov, Rotary Club -Svishtov, and the Bulgarian Business Association - Svishtov are active participants in civil society and initiators of a number of events and projects in business life. The steering committee of the Elenka and Kiril D. Avramov Culture House effectively upholds the celebrated Renaissance traditions and at the same time originates ambitious modem initiatives. The yearlong successful activity of the culture house proves the capacity of these structures to fit in the new realities and cope with the challenges of modern times. Finally, the activity should be noted of a number of sports and tourism clubs such as Akademik Football Club, Aleko Konstantinov Tourist Society, Olimpiets Basketball Club, the Judo Sport Club.

Pictures of Svishtov

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