Venezuela is divided into 23 states, the Federal District, and 72 offshore islands grouped under a federal dependency.
State government has been traditionally weak, with the state governor being the agent of the federal government directed to enforce national laws and decrees, as well as state legislation. Governors (including the governor of the Federal District) are appointed by the president and may be removed by him. According to the constitution the states are autonomous and are guaranteed the right to regulate their own affairs. They are given all powers not reserved to the nation or the municipalities. In reality, these powers are very few, since control of elections, education, health, agriculture, and labor is delegated to the national government. The state legislatures are unicameral.
Municipalities are autonomous in the election of their officials, in all matters within their competence, and in action regarding the collection, creation, and expenditure of their revenues. City councils vary from 5 to 22 members according to population. The council is popularly elected and, in turn, selects the mayor. According to the constitution, elections for state and municipal offices may not be held more often than once every two years or less often than once every five years.