Article 28 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany provides for a three-tiered state structure: The Federation, the German Federal States and the local authorities

The local authorities in the Rhineland-Palatinate are divided into local communities, associations of municipalities and districts. All levels take responsibility for their own administration while simultaneously fulfilling state functions. Approximately 80 percent of the these are national functions. Here, the district cannot make decisions as to whether or how such function must be fulfilled. Approximately 20 percent of the functions are municipal self-government responsibilities.

The District Council as the elected local government body, the municipalities and the association of municipalities make decisions in their portfolios regarding the self-government obligations. These include the building of schools, economic development, public short-distance transport, culture, zoning, sewage and refuse removal. The administrative head of the district is both the president of the district assembly entitled to vote and the head of the authority and superior of all the district administration's staff. As the interface between the country and the communities, the district is the administrative unit which guarantees both effective public acting and allowing the citizens democratic participation.