Local administration still follows many French and Spanish procedural patterns, but final authority rests with the king through the Ministry of the Interior. Morocco proper has 39 provinces and eight urban prefectures (including two at Rabat-Salé and five at Casablanca). Each province and prefecture has a governor appointed by the king. The provinces and prefectures select councils or assemblies, which hold public sessions in the spring and fall. The assemblies are largely restricted to social and economic questions.
The provinces are divided into administrative areas, called cercles, each headed by a superqaid (caidat). Each cercle is subdivided into rural and urban communes, each headed by a qaid or a pasha, respectively, and assisted by a council. Councilors are elected for six-year terms, and each council is composed of 9 to 51 members, depending on the size of the commune. The council president, chosen by secret ballot, presents the budget and applies the decisions of the council. Real power, however, is exercised by the qaid or pasha. The communes are supervised by the Ministry of the Interior, which retains final decision-making authority. As of 2002, there were 1,544 communes in Morocco; 247 are urban and 1,297 are rural.