Local democracy is the self-government of cities, towns, villages and districts by democratic means—typically, but not exclusively, through elected mayors, councils and other local officials.

International IDEA’s Constitution-Building Primers are designed to assist in-country constitution-building or constitutional-reform processes by helping citizens, political parties, civil society organizations, public officials and members of constituent assemblies make wise constitutional choices. They also provide guidance for staff of intergovernmental organizations and other external actors working to provide well informed, context-relevant support to local decision-makers.

Each Primer is written as an introduction for non-specialist readers, and as a convenient aide-memoire for those with prior knowledge of, or experience with, constitution-building. Arranged thematically around the practical choices faced by constitution-builders, the Primers aim to explain complex constitutional issues in a quick and easy way.

This revised and reformatted edition was published in October 2017.


Publication date
01 July 2015
Elliot W. Bulmer
Number of pages
978-91-7671-118-7 (Print)



1. Introduction

2. What is the issue?

3. Approaches to constitutionalizing local democracy

4. Contextual considerations

5. Protecting and enhancing local democracy

6. Alternatives to local democracy

7. Decision-making questions

8. Examples



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Local Democracy

International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 13
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