Local government in Croatia consists of municipalities that are grouped into 20 counties and 1 city. Citizens are guaranteed the right to local self-government with competencies to decide on matters, needs, and interest of local relevance. Counties consist of areas determined by history, transportation, and other economic factors. The 20 counties are: Zagreb, Kradina-Zagorje, Sisacko-Moslavacka, Karlovac, Varazdin, Koprivnica-Krizevci, Bjelovar-Bilogora, Hrvatsko Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Lika-Senj, Virovitica-Podravina, Pozega-Slavonija, Slavonski Brod-Posavina, Zadar-Knin, Osijek-Baranja, Šibenik, Vukovar-Srijem, Dalmatia-Split, Istria, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Medjimurje; and the City of Zagreb.
The mayor of Zagreb is elected by the city assembly and is approved by the president. In the local elections of 2001, tens of thousands of candidates contested 566 councils and assemblies at the municipal, town, county, and Zagreb City levels. (There are approximately 440 municipalities and 120 towns in Croatia). A total of 3.8 million voters were registered for the elections. The local election results roughly mirrored those of the parliamentary elections of 2000.