Government of Venezuela
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Venezuela is a federal presidential republic governed by a constitution. The chief executive is President of Venezuela who is both head of state and head of government, and of a dominant-party system. Executive power is exercised by the President. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly.
The formerly bicameral Venezuelan legislature was transformed by the 1999 constitution into a unicameral National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional). The political system described below is that defined by the 1999 Constitution, which was approved by popular referendum in 1999 and first came into force on 30 December 1999.
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 president is elected by a plurality vote with direct and universal suffrage for a six year term. A president may be re-elected perpetually (only in consecutive terms) as of 15 February 2009. The president appoints the Vice President.
Cabinet officials include:
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, responsible for the foreign relations of Venezuela. (List of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela)
- Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
- Agriculture & Lands
- Minister of Basic Industry & Mining
- Minister of Communications & Information
- Minister of Communes & Social Protection
- Minister of Culture
- Minister of Defense
- Minister of Education
- Minister of Energy & Petroleum & President of PDVSA
- Minister of Nutrition
- Minister of Planning & Finance
- Minister of Health
- Minister of Higher Education
- Minister of Housing & Habitat
- Minister of Indigenous Peoples
- Minister of Interior & Justice (List of Ministers of Interior and Justice of Venezuela)
- Minister of Labor and Social Security
- Minister of Basic Industry & Mining
- Minister of Science & Technology
- Minister of Sports
- Minister of Telecommunications
- Ministry of Transport and Communications (Venezuela)
- Office of the Presidency (formerly the Venezuelan Secretariat of the Presidency)
- Venezuelan Ministry of Women's Affairs
- Central Bank President
- Attorney General of Venezuela
Former ministries include the Venezuelan Ministry of Infrastructure, which became the "Ministry of Public Works and Housing" and was split into the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Housing & Habitat in June 2010. The Ministry of Popular Economy became the "Ministry of Communal Economy" in 2007, and was merged into the Ministry of Communes and Social Protection on 3 March 2009, along with the Ministry of Participation and Social Protection. In February 2010 the Ministry of Planning and Development was merged with the Ministry of Finance to form the Ministry of Planning and Finance.
The National Assembly has 165 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Each member may be re-elected for a maximum of ten additional terms. Three Assembly seats are by law reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela. National Assembly elections were last held on 31 September 2011. When the National Assembly is not in session, its delegated committee acts on matters relating to the executive and in oversight functions.
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 32 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 commander ("fiscal general"), the "defender of the people" or ombudsman, and the comptroller private. These officers, in addition to fulfilling their specific functions, also act collectively as the "Republican Moral Council" to submit to 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 National Electoral Council is responsible for organizing elections at all levels. Its members are elected to seven-year terms by the National Assembly.
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- Frankal, Elliot (4 July 2005). "Compulsory voting around the world". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2007.
- CIA. The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ve.html
- (Spanish) Ministry of Communes and Social Protection, 21 May 2009, "El Ministerio del Poder Popular para las Comunas no construye Comunas"