Below the central government, Moldova is divided administratively into forty raioane (sing., raion; rayon/rayony, in Russian; see Glossary), as in the Soviet period. Each raion is governed by a locally elected council. Raion councils elect executive committees from among their members. The heads of these executive committees are the chief executive officers of the raioane. City and village governments are organized much like the raion- level governments. In addition to the raioane, Chisinau (the national capital), Balti, Bender, and Tiraspol are designated municipalities and are directly subordinate to the national government.
In 1991 the national government began work on an administrative reorganization intended to alter this structure and to reintroduce a system of counties (judete), communes, and villages similar to the one that had been in effect during the interwar period, and one that was still in use in Romania. Under the new system, the counties would consolidate functions carried out by the smaller raioane, and local executives would be elected directly. However, this effort was stalled by the secession of Transnistria and the declaration of sovereignty by the Gagauz region, and the Parliament elected in 1994 put the matter aside.
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