Administrative divisions of Zhenia

From Themys Project

The Republic of Zhenia is formally divided into four different levels of administration, which are separated by varying degrees of administrative power - provincial (provinces and metropolitan municipalities), prefectural (independent city or prefecture), municipal (municipality, county or district) and township-level areas. While there are indeed multiple administrative divisions that are roughly equivalents in their degrees of administrative power, they are generally referred to as the closest and most common administrative subdivision of its equivalent.

The current hierarchy of administrative areas in the nation mostly follows the form generally maintained since the Shindan dynasty, although revisions in the actual structure of administrative power has shifted closer to a federalized one as opposed to a unitary one. Despite some exceptions, borders of most administrative areas have generally followed the traditionally-drawn, geographical and/or cultural borders dating back to the later stages of the Shindan dynasty and eventually the Empire of Zhenia. Generally, province-level administrative areas are deemed the most important, as many view their identities directly tied to the provinces they are from.

History

Before Zhenian unification

Empire of Zhenia

First Republic

Second Republic

Since the Third Republic

The end of the Second Zhenian Civil War and the establishment of the Third Republic marked another major turn in the organization of Zhenia's administrative subdivisions. One of the most notable changes include the reversion of Zhenia from a confederated group of states into a more unitary government centered around provinces, prefectures and municipalities.

Administrative levels

Regional level

Although not officially used by the Zhenian Government since the Third Republic as an official administrative subdivision, the Regions were and still are at least statistically considered the highest level of administrative subdivisions within the nation. Consisting of multiple province-level administrative subdivisions, they have been classified primarily in accordance to geography and cultural similarities. While a nominal governmental structure existed for each of the regions until 1961, it has become more of a theoretical organization lacking a governing structure under the reforms of the Third Republic.

Today, however, such regions exist as statistical, administrative and social benchmarks used for reference within the government and among citizens. As of now, there are five of such regions statistically accepted by the National Census Bureau in the nation - the Danguk Peninsula region (often alternately referred to as Eastern Zhenia), Northern Zhenia, Western Zhenia, Central Zhenia and Southern Zhenia.

Province-level areas

DaedoJinhaeChanganGyeongin ProvinceGwanseo ProvinceNamhae ProvinceGwandong ProvinceHaedong ProvinceGyeongcheon ProvinceSonghwa ProvinceJinmun ProvinceSeondan ProvinceHamwon ProvinceDonghae South ProvinceDonghae North ProvinceBukhae ProvinceLoongan ProvinceGilim ProvinceOnmu ProvinceSonggang ProvinceGamju ProvinceBukhwa ProvinceMacheon ProvinceNamhwa ProvinceAnpyeong ProvinceChangbaek ProvinceImhae ProvinceBalhae ProvinceTaehwa ProvinceDonggwang ProvinceSeogwang ProvinceShingang ProvinceHeuksu Province
Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020) Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020) Administrative subdivision Capital Population (2020)
Daedo N/A 23,617,281 Seondan Danju 12,839,719 Macheon Magok 26,147,288
Jinhae N/A 15,164,561 Hamwon Hamju 8,717,562 Namhwa Samjinpo 35,174,716
Changan N/A 12,961,532 Donghae South Cheongan 9,334,724 Anpyeong Cheonju 23,167,377
Gyeongin Ariul 40,891,458 Donghae North Songtan 4,914,799 Changbaek Seokmun 13,028,473
Gwanseo Jeonju 12,115,482 Bukhae Bukju 6,595,285 Imhae Namgyeong 27,681,658
Namhae Jin-Nampo 17,316,142 Loongan Solbin 10,482,466 Donggwang Hamun 35,104,727
Gwandong Ulju 4,891,754 Gilim Gilju 16,362,733 Seogwang Jungsan 23,817,462
Haedong Dongdo 5,691,462 Onmu Muju 3,184,174 Balhae Gamman 48,510,891
Gyeongcheon Hanju 8,385,184 Songgang Songak 15,085,728 Taehwa Taeju 28,718,527
Songhwa Hwaju 25,518,249 Gamju Gamcheon 6,014,427 Shingang Seosan 4,809,348
Jinmun Mundo 34,301,485 Bukhwa Hanam 32,278,819 Heuksu Jangsan 3,673,017


In practice, province-level areas (Zhenian: 도급 행정구역/都級 行政區域) are the highest level of administrative subdivisions within Zhenia. Somewhat varying in their political treatment and autonomy, province-level areas are to exert high levels of autonomy in areas excluding foreign affairs and the military, both of which fall under the domain of the national government; however, they are allowed to constitute their own assembly of elected representatives and form their own executive branch to handle the day-to-day administration of said area. All province-level areas are represented by both assemblymen of the Sangseowon and representatives of the National Assembly; five Sangseowon assemblymen represent each province-level area, while the number of National Assembly representatives are normally proportionate to the subdivision's population. As of January 1611, there are 33 of such province-level areas: one special city, two metropolitan municipalities and 30 provinces in total. Province-level areas are also the highest levels in which local autonomy is practiced within regional politics in Zhenia.

Provinces

Provinces (Zhenian: 도/都) are often regarded as the highest level and most common province-level administrative subdivision in the nation. Enjoying considering levels of local autonomy apart from foreign and military affairs, provinces are allowed to form provincial governments and elect their own representatives to the Provincial Assembly (Zhenian: 도의회/都議會). Each provincial government is headed by the Provincial Governor (Zhenian: 도지사/都知事), which can serve up to three terms each lasting for four years. Legislation from the Provincial Assembly, however, must yield to National legislation if both cover the same area but with different perspectives, unless such National legislation is not enforced; the Provincial Assembly, however, can challenge the National legislation via the National Judiciary or the Constitutional Court. As of January 1611, there are 30 of such provinces in Zhenia, from Gyeongin Province to Heuksu Province.

Special cities and metropolitan municipalities

Special Cities (Zhenian: 특별시/特別市) are similar to Metropolitan Municipalities (Zhenian: 광역시/廣域市), in that they are granted more administrative autonomy than prefectures and that their delegated affairs are overseen directly by the national government. However, while the delegated affairs of metropolitan municipalities are overseen by the respective ministers of each ministry in the national government, the delegated affairs of special cities are overseen directly by the Premier, thus placing the Special City in a higher administrative status than metropolitan municipalities. Both special cities and metropolitan municipalities are allowed to form their own elected assembly, while their respective executive branches are headed by the Special City Administrator (Zhenian: 특별판윤/特別判尹) and Metropolitan Administrator (Zhenian: 광역부윤/廣域府尹) respectively. Both the Special City Administrator and his/her deputy are allowed to partake in the national government's cabinet meetings, the Special City Administrator is regarded equal to the ministers of the national government's respective ministries; his deputy and the Metropolitan Administrator, on the other hand, are regarded equal to deputy ministers.

As of 1611, the status of Special City is only granted to one city - Daedo, the nation's capital city - there are two metropolitan municipalities in the nation - Jinhae and Changan. Having been Zhenia's capital city since the Empire of Zhenia, Daedo had been immediately designated as a Special City under the First Republic shortly after the December Revolution: Daedo's status as a special city comes in hand with its status as Zhenia's capital city, as clarified by the Zhenian Constitution. Metropolitan municipalities, on the other hand, were systematically established in later years, with the objective of dispersing some of the political and economic functions of the capital city and increase the reach of the central government beyond the capital city. Thus, Jinhae and Changan, formerly categorized as independent cities, became Metropolitan Municipalities in 1509, as they were the two largest cities in the mainland.

In principle, a city can be designated as a metropolitan municipality if the combined population of the city within its administrative limits is over 10,000,000, while it also fulfills a number of criteria needed for metropolitan municipalities, including financial self-reliance and its influence on the surrounding region. Upon seeing that the requirements are fulfilled, the municipal government, with the consent of over 2 million of its citizens, is allowed to submit an application calling for the elevation of the city into a metropolitan municipality, which is then assessed by the national government concerning the feasibility of the elevation. Following governmental approval, the city holds a city-wide referendum on the issue: if over two-thirds of the votes support the city's elevation, then the city is granted Metropolitan Municipality status. As of 1611, Bakhan is the only city in the nation that is not yet a metropolitan municipality satisfying such requirements, although the national government in Daedo has so far retained a strong stance against designating additional metropolitan municipalities in the nation for the time being.

Prefecture-level areas

Prefecture-level areas (Zhenian: 부급 행정구역/府級 行政區域) are subdivisions directly below province-level areas. Prefecture-level areas can be represented in the Provincial Assembly through a designated number of representatives, while they also retain the right to elect their own representatives and governmental leaders. Prefecture-level assemblies are allowed to draft their own statutes and pass them, although they must yield to Provincial and National legislation if such statutes collide with them in content. Prefecture-level areas are generally the most common unitary size of electoral districts for National Assembly representatives, although the designation of electoral districts are mostly a population-based one. Special Cities and Metropolitan Municipalities normally do not have prefecture-level subdivisions but are rather divided into counties and districts.

Prefectures

Prefectures (Zhenian: 부/府) are the most common subdivision of prefecture-level areas, consisting of a mix of municipalities and counties but not necessarily districts. They are, however, not found in Metropolitan Municipalities and Special Cities. Prefectures are allowed to constitute a Prefectural Assembly consisting of directly-elected representatives and administratively elect a Prefectural Governor (Zhenian: 부지사/府知事). While provincial governments lay out the more general rules of administration, Prefectural governments are more focused in exerting control over the day-to-day administration of the given area, although they often yield to provincial-level governments.

Independent cities

Independent Cities (Zhenian: 독립시/市獨立) are cities that are not part of a prefecture. A Municipality becomes an Independent City when the city has a population of over 600,000 residents, although there is an additional threshold of 1,000,000 residents for further autonomy. Despite their smaller size compared to prefectures, Independent Cities can be represented in the province-level areas equally as Prefectures, while they can also directly process some of the delegated rights traditionally granted to province-level areas, including residential area construction, transportation permits and industrial area designations. Independent Cities, unlike municipalities, are also allowed to designate their own districts within its domain, assuming that it has fulfilled its population requirements.

Municipality-level areas

Municipality-level areas (Zhenian: 시급 행정구역/市級 行政區域), also referred to as Basic Administrative Areas (Zhenian: 기초행정구역/基礎行政區域), are smaller subdivisions below prefecture-level areas in the administrative hierarchy. Although having to adhere to the legislation from all administrative areas above it in the administrative hierarchy, municipality-level areas still enjoy some degree of autonomy in less crucial areas of governmental rule. Municipality-level areas are usually the most common size of electoral districts for Provincial Assembly representatives.

Municipalities

Municipalities (Zhenian: 시/市) are densely populated urban areas that are smaller than independent cities. For a county to be designated into a city, it must have a population of over 60,000 and retain the form of an urban area, which would then be assessed by the prefectural and provincial governments. Often cities can merge with more rural, suburban counties and form composite municipalities (Zhenian: 복합시/複合市), a less formal derivative of municipalities: composite municipalities, however, have higher population thresholds and are scrutinized more thoroughly in their evaluation. While both composite municipalities and municipalities have under them townships, villages and neighborhoods, only composite municipalities are allowed to have up to two districts, opposed to municipalities, which are allowed no districts unless otherwise noted.

Counties

Counties (Zhenian: 군/郡) are rural or suburban areas that are normally parts of prefectures. While they can be designated into municipalities once they fulfill the required population and urban components, some counties retain county status due to administrative considerations. Almost all counties, however, still have a population of under 150,000. Counties have an array of townships and villages under it.

Districts

Districts (Zhenian: 구/區) are subdivisions found in larger cities, particularly Special Cities, Metropolitan Municipalities, Independent Cities and some Composite Municipalities. Being part of metrpolitan cities that are high in population, districts can exert similar administrative powers and autonomy as municipalities. Districts consist of multiple neighborhoods.

Township-level areas

Township-level areas (Zhenian: 면급 행정구역/面級 行政區域) are normally the smallest level of administrative subdivisions found in Zhenia. Township-level areas enjoy the lowest level of autonomy among Zhenia's administrative areas, although their administrative heads can still be elected by the residents. Township-level areas officially do not have an elected set of representatives, while their administrative head can often be appointed by the municipality, county or provincial government.

Townships

Townships (Zhenian: 면/面) are some of the most common township-level administrative subdivisions found in the nation, found in municipalities, composite municipalities and counties. As opposed to neighborhoods, townships are usually found in rural or suburban areas. Like neighborhoods, townships are allowed autonomy restricted to local administration. Unlike other administrative units above its place in the hierarchy, townships can in theory cannot be elevated into neighborhoods unless the county that it is a part of is redesignated into a Municipality. Townships can consist of multiple villages.

Neighborhoods

Townships (Zhenian: 동/洞), often identifiable with the suffix '-dong' (Zhenian: -동), is normally the smallest level of administrative subdivisions found in urban areas. The autonomy of neighborhoods is restricted to the day-to-day affairs of local administration, similar to townships in rural and suburban areas. The administrative heads of neighborhoods, unlike those of townships and towns, can be assigned by the government of the Municipality or District.

Villages

Villages (Zhenian: 리/里 - translated as 'rural village') is often the smallest possible administrative subdivision found in the nation. Unlike townships and neighborhoods, villages have no population requirements whatsoever; in theory, one person occupying a village can still be considered a village, according to the Regional Administrative Laws. Almost all villages are situated in rural areas and can often contain large plots of unpopulated land. The village administrator is normally assigned by the county government.

Proposed Reforms

Reversion into a Confederation

Reorganization of province-level areas

In 1599, Han Hoseok, Metropolitan Administrator of Jinhae, proposed a reorganization of the nation's province-level areas that involved the increase of the number of provinces to 39 and metropolitan municipalities to 5, dividing up populous provinces to have equal population with other regions while designating Bakhan, Zhuhae and Gwangseong as additional metropolitan municipalities. While the number of provinces and metropolitan municipalities are changes noticeable at macroscale, other changes regarding prefectures and the way metropolitan municipalities are included in the proposal. Instead of using the current population-based metric, the proposal increases the percentage of political and administrative circumstances into consideration, further opening a way for more cities to be designated as metropolitan municipalities.

Elevation of Jinhae into a Special City

There have been continuous proposals regarding the status of Jinhae, due to the city's status as the nation's second most populous city as well as the purpose of alleviating the over-saturation of development and capital around Daedo and the Greater Capital Area. While there have been proponents to the proposal in regards to the balanced development of the nation, many remained against it giving the status of Special City given the importance of the status as an indicator of the nation's center As such, proposals to re-designate have been submitted eight times to the Parliament from 1518 to 1599, while only one of which has passed onto and was defeated in the Sangseowon in 1577.

See Also