Tunisia is divided into 23 provinces ( wilayets , or governorates). Each province is headed by a governor appointed by the president through the secretary of interior. The governor is assisted by elected municipal councils and a governmental council, members of which are appointed for a three-year term by the central government on the governor's nomination. Each province is in turn divided into delegations ( mutamadiyat ), the number of which varies with the size and social and economic importance of the province. There were 199 in the mid-1980s. The number of communes, or municipalities, in 2002 was 257. In local elections boycotted by the opposition in 1990, RCD candidates won control of all but one of the councils. In 1990 proportional representation for municipal elections was introduced, where the winning party would receive 50% of the council seats with the remaining seats to be proportionally divided between the other political parties according to their electoral draw. Municipal elections held in 1995 gave RCD control with 99.9% of the votes cast and 4,084 of the 4,090 seats.
Municipal elections were held in May 2000. The RDC won 3,885 out of a total 4,128 seats. Opposition party candidates competed in less than 100 municipalities, and won a total of 243 seats. The Movement for Social Democrats fared best of this group, winning 78 seats. Local council members serve five-year terms.