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Ayuntamiento (Spanish pronunciation: [aʝuntaˈmjento])[note 1] is the general term for the town council or cabildo of a municipality, or sometimes the municipality itself, in Spain and Latin America. Historically ayuntamiento was often preceded by the word excelentísimo ("most excellent"), when referring to the council. This phrase is often abbreviated "Exc.mo Ay.to".
In Catalan-speaking parts of Spain, municipalities generally use the Catalan cognate, ajuntament, while Galician ones use the word concello, Astur-Leonese conceyu and Basque udaletxea. Ayuntamiento is mainly used in Spain; in Latin America alcaldía is also for municipal governing bodies, especially the executive ones, where the legislative body and an executive one are two separate entities.
In Latin America several terms exist for the legislative bodies of municipalities. The term consejo is used in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru. In Mexico the term ayuntamiento is for the council (which refers to itself as the H. Ayuntamiento, or el Honorable Ayuntamiento). Puerto Rican municipalities have a legislatura municipal. In Peru the term ayuntamiento is never used; instead, it is municipalidad, consejo provincial or consejo distrital (district council). Executive functions in most of these countries is handled by an executive alcalde, the mayor (not to be confused with the historic alcalde, who was a magistrate).
- Ayuntamiento (Spain) for the specific institution of local government in Spain.
- Cabildo (council), a historic synonym of ayuntamiento.
- Geoffrey Pivateau, "AYUNTAMIENTO," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed July 18, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- Hoy, Bill (1993). Spanish Terms of the Sonoran Desert Borderlands. Inst. for Border Studies, San Diego State Univ. p. 22.
The municipio government usually calls itself the Honorable Ayuntamiento, abbreviated as H. Ayuntamiento.