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A seniūnija (in English: eldership, elderate, ward, parish, or subdistrict) is the smallest administrative division of Lithuania. An eldership may comprise a very small region consisting of few villages, one single town, or a part of a big city. Elderships vary in size and population depending on their location and nature. A few elderships make up a municipality. Šilainiai (Kaunas) and Dainava (Kaunas) are the most populous elderates, with population counts over 70,000, exceeding the population of some entire municipalities.
Elderships manage small-scale local matters, such as repairing pavements and dirt roads, and keep records on all families living in the eldership. The premise of the concept is that - unlike in higher administrative divisions - an elder (the leader of the eldership) could have time to talk to every person in the eldership who wants to.
Modern Lithuania is divided into 10 counties, 60 municipalities, and 546 elderships. Elderships function as municipal districts. In cities, an elder is elected[by whom?] to each eldership district, along with a mayor for the city.
Note: historically[when?] the term referred to significantly larger administrative units, e.g. Eldership of Samogitia (also known for a longer period of history as the Duchy of Samogitia).
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