Government, Local Government
special authority, mayors, Kuna, national government, governors
Panama’s nine provinces are administered by governors appointed by the president. Local government is organized around 65 districts and 505 subdistricts. Voters in these jurisdictions choose mayors and councilors to administer local business. In the cities, mayors wield significant power, but in rural areas their influence is strictly limited by lack of funds. Most local government depends on securing help from provincial and national authorities.
Leaders of Native American groups, especially the Kuna and Ngobe-Bugle, negotiate directly with the national government. The Kuna enjoy special authority to conduct affairs in their own reservation, the Comarca of San Blas.
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