Town halls are corrupt, says electorate; not so, say the authorities

«Mayors and citizens may reside in the same place, but they don’t necessarily speak the same language.» This is one of the basic conclusions of the poll on local administration, arising from the different pictures that mayors and residents have of the institution. «We are satisfied with the overall functioning of local administration,» said 58 percent of mayors, but only 36 percent of the poll’s residents held the same view. «We are effective in carrying out our responsibilities,» 53.5 percent of mayors said. Only 38 percent of inhabitants agree. Of mayors, 86.8 percent believe they have economic problems, while only one in two residents regards it as the most important problem. Corruption The same divergence of views can be seen over municipal administration. While 67 percent of residents feel that there is no transparency in the way that municipalities handle their finances, 90 percent of mayors feel that their handling of municipal finances is both transparent and correct. Indeed, 48 percent of residents feel there are generalized instances of corruption and that these need to be dealt with – a view shared by a mere 9.6 percent of mayors, while 62.7 percent considered cases of corruption to be limited in scope. Great expectations Naturally enough, this «crisis of representation» recorded by the poll prompts legitimate questions over why voters should so sharply dispute their own choice of municipal leader. Clearly, another part of the poll, which records the great expectations both mayors and residents have of local administration, leads to the conclusion that the gap is not impossible to bridge and that there is a common future which is reformulated every four years, as is the case with this year’s October elections.