burgomaster(redirected from Bourgermester)
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(German, Bürgermeister). (1) The highest official in municipal organs of state government in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and in local organs of administration of some capitalist countries (the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria). In the GDR the burgomaster is elected by town meetings of deputies and is head of the executive body of the town meeting, the council. In capitalist countries the burgomaster plays a leading role in local administrative bodies; he is the representative of the central government, appoints and removes municipal employees, and is in charge of drawing up and carrying out the budget. Burgomasters are either elected by the municipal councils (for example, in most of the provinces of the Federal Republic of Germany), directly by the people (in the provinces of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in the Federal Republic of Germany), or appointed by the government (as in the Netherlands). In the provinces of Lower Saxony and Northern Westphalia (FRG), the burgomaster functions chiefly as a representative of the government, and local administration is concentrated in the hands of special officials, known as community directors, who are appointed by the community councils.
(2) In Russia a burgomaster is known as a burmistr.