Browse the listing below to find government information for Venezuela, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Venezuela at its
Venezuela Country Page.
Type: Federal Republic.
Independence: July 5, 1811.
Constitution: December 30, 1999.
Branches: Executive--president (head of government and chief of state; 6-year term); Council of Ministers (cabinet, appointed by president). Legislative--unicameral congress (5-year term). Judicial--20 -member Supreme Court (elected by Congress; 12-year term).
Subdivisions: 23 states, one federal district (Caracas), and one federal dependency (72 islands).
Major political parties: Fifth Republic Movement or Movimiento V Republica (MVR), Democratic Action or Accion Democratica (AD), Social Christian or Comite Organizador Politico por Elecciones Independientes (COPEI), Homeland for All or Patria Para Todos (PPT), Movement to Socialism or Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), Radical Cause or La Causa R, Justice First or Primero Justicia, and the National Convergence or Convergencia.
Government of Venezuela
Current President Hugo Chavez was elected in December 1998 on a platform that called for the creation of a National Constituent Assembly in order to write a new Constitution for Venezuela. Chavez's argument that the existing political system had become isolated from the people won broad acceptance, particularly among Venezuela's poorest classes, who had seen a significant decline in their living standards over the previous decade and a half. The National Constituent Assembly (ANC), consisting of 131 elected individuals, convened in August 1999 to begin rewriting the Constitution. In free elections, voters gave all but six seats to persons associated with the Chavez movement. Venezuelans approved the ANC's draft in a referendum on December 15, 1999. The political system described below is that defined by the 1999 Constitution.
The president is elected by a plurality vote with direct and universal suffrage. The term of office is 6 years, and a president may be re-elected to a single consecutive term. The president appoints the vice president. He decides the size and composition of the cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the National Assembly. Legislation can be initiated by the executive branch, the legislative branch (either a committee of the National Assembly or three members of the latter), the judicial branch, the citizen branch (ombudsman, public prosecutor, and controller general) or a public petition signed by no fewer than 0.1% of registered voters. The president can ask the National Assembly to reconsider portions of laws he finds objectionable, but a simple majority of the Assembly can override these objections.
The National Assembly is unicameral, consisting solely of the Chamber of Deputies. Deputies serve 5-year terms, and may be re-elected for a maximum of two additional terms. These legislative agents are elected by a combination of party list and single member constituencies. When the Congress is not in session, its delegated committee acts on matters relating to the executive and in oversight functions.
The Constitution designates three additional branches of the federal government--the judicial, citizen, and electoral branches.
The judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, which may meet either in specialized chambers (of which there are six) or in plenary session. The justices are appointed by the National Assembly and serve 12-year terms. The judicial branch also consists of lower courts, including district courts, municipal courts, and courts of first instance.
The citizens branch consists of three components--the prosecutor general ("fiscal general"), the "defender of the people" or ombudsman, and the comptroller general. The holders of these offices, in addition to fulfilling their specific functions, also act collectively as the "Republican Moral Council" to challenge before the Supreme Tribunal actions they believe are illegal, particularly those which violate the Constitution. The holders of the "citizen power" offices are selected for terms of 7 years by the National Assembly.
The "Electoral Power," otherwise known as the National Electoral Council, is responsible for organizing elections at all levels. Its members are also elected to 7-year terms by the National Assembly.