Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures, or provinces, which coincide with former Belgian administrative divisions. The prefectures are supposed to be administered by prefects appointed by the president. The former subchiefdoms and extratribal divisions were reorganized into 143 communes or municipalities. The commune, the basic political and administrative unit in Rwanda, is administered by an elected communal council presided over by a mayor. Until recently, communes had limited scope, however, decentralization has given local governments new powers and authorities previously reserved for central government.