Politics of Colombia

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Colombia
Constitution

The Politics of Colombia take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Colombia is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives of Colombia. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Constitutional reforms[edit]

Colombia's present constitution, enacted on July 5, 1991, strengthened the administration of justice with the provision for introduction of an adversarial system which ultimately is to entirely replace the existing Napoleonic Code. Other significant reforms under the new constitution provide for civil divorce, dual nationality, the election of a vice president, and the election of departmental governors. The constitution expanded citizens' basic rights, including that of "tutela," under which an immediate court action can be requested by an individual if he or she feels that their constitutional rights are being violated and if there is no other legal recourse.

The national government has separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Executive branch[edit]

The president is elected for a four-year term and, since 2005, can be re-elected for one consecutive term. The 1991 constitution reestablished the position of vice president, who is elected on the same ticket as the president. By law, the vice president will succeed in the event of the president's resignation, illness, or death.

Legislative branch[edit]

Colombia's bicameral Congress consists of a 102-member Senate of Colombia and a 161-member Chamber of Representatives of Colombia. Senators are elected on the basis of a nationwide ballot, while representatives are elected in multi member districts co-located within the 32 national departments. The country's capital is a separate capital district and elects its own representatives. Members may be re-elected indefinitely, and, in contrast to the previous system, there are no alternate congressmen. Congress meets twice a year, and the president has the power to call it into special session when needed.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Colombia. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Colombia.
e • d Summary of the 28 May 2006 Colombian presidential election results
Parties - Candidates Votes %
Álvaro Uribe Vélez - Colombia First (Primero Colombia) 7,363,421 62.35
Carlos Gaviria Díaz - Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo) 2,609,412 22.04
Horacio Serpa Uribe - Colombian Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Colombiano) 1,401,173 11.84
Antanas Mockus Sivickas - Indigenous Social Alliance Movement (Movimiento Alianza Social Indígena) 146,540 1.24
Enrique Parejo González - National Democratic Reconstruction (Reconstrucción Democrática Nacional) 44,610 0.38
Álvaro Leyva Durán - National Movement for Reconciliation (Movimiento Nacional de Reconciliación) 22,039 0.19
Carlos Arturo Rincón Barreto - Colombian Community and Communal Political Movement (Movimiento Politico Comunal y Comunidad Colombiano) 20,477 0.17
Total votes for candidates 11,607,672 98.05
Blank votes 230,749 1.95
Total valid votes 11,838,421 100.00
Null votes 136,326
Unmarked ballots 84,041
Total votes cast (turnout 45.1%) 12,058,788
Registered voters 26,731,700
Source: Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil.
e • d Summary of the 12 March 2006 Chamber of Representatives of Colombia election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Colombian Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Colombiano) 1,646,404 19.0 30
Social National Unity Party/Party of the U (Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, also known as Partido de la U) 1,453,353 16.7 29
Colombian Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Colombiano) 1,363,656 15.8 30
Radical Change (Cambio Radical) 932,207 10.7 20
Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo) 708,664 8.2 9
Citizens' Convergence (Convergencia Ciudadana) 397,903 4.6 8
Wings - Team Colombia Movement (Movimiento Alas Equipo Colombia) 370,789 4.3 7
Independent Movement of Absolute Renovation (Mira party) 233,920 2.7 1
Democratic Colombia Party (Partido Colombia Demócrata) 215,753 2.5 2
Liberal Opening (Apertura Liberal) 199,810 2.3 5
National Movement (Movimiento Nacional) 175,012 2.0 2
United People's Movement (Movimiento Popular Unido) 129,977 1.5 2
For the Country of our Dreams (Por el País que soñamos) 99,565 1.1 1
Regional Integration Movement (Movimiento Integración Regional) 91,547 1.1 4
Huila New and Liberalism (Huila Nuevo y Liberalismo) 80,688 0.9 2
Social Action Party (Partido de Acción Social) 52,340 0.6 1
Renovation Movement Labour Action (Movimiento Renovación Acción Laboral) 33,308 0.4 0
National Salvation Movement (Movimiento de Salvación Nacional) 28,975 0.3 0
People's Participation Movement (Movimiento de Participación Popular) 18,449 0.2 0
Progressive National Movement (Movimiento Nacional Progresista) 8,146 0.1 0
Total votes for parties (turnout 40.54%) 8,678,535 100.0 163
Sources: Adam Carr and Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil
e • d Summary of the 12 March 2006 Senate of Colombia election results
Parties % Seats
Social National Unity Party/Party of the U (Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, also known as Partido de la U) 17.49 20
Colombian Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Colombiano) 16.13 18
Colombian Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Colombiano) 15.52 18
Radical Change (Cambio Radical) 13.36 15
Alternative Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Alternativo) 9.74 10
Citizens' Convergence (Convergencia Ciudadana) 6.25 7
Wings - Team Colombia Movement (Movimiento Alas Equipo Colombia) 4.68 5
Democratic Colombia Party (Partido Colombia Demócratica) 2.85 3
Mira Movement (Movimiento Mira) 2.35 2
Living Colombia Movement (Movimiento Colombia Viva) 2.46 2
Let the Moreno play movement (Movimiento Dejen Jugar al Moreno) 1.50 0
C4 0.88 0
Visionaries with Antanas Mockus (Visionarios con Antanas Mockus) 0.77 0
Comunitarian Participation Movement (Movimiento de Participación Comunitaria) 0.56 0
Communal and Comunitarian Movement of Colombia (Movimiento Comunal y Comunitario de Colombia) 0.42 0
Colombia Unite Movement (Movimiento Únete Colombia) 0.17 0
Independent Conservatism (Conservatismo Independiente) 0.14 0
National Democratic Reconstruction (Reconstrucción Democrática Nacional) 0.08 0
Progressive National Movement (Movimiento Nacional Progresista) 0.09 0
Indigenous Social Alliance (Alianza Social Indigena) 2
Total valid votes (turnout 40.54%)   102
Sources: Registraduria Nacional del Estado Civil, Caracol Radio
e • d 2006 elections to the 2 seats reserved for Indigenous in the Senate of Colombia
Parties Votes % Seats
Indigenous Social Alliance (Alianza Social Indigena) ASI 44,557 28.27 1
Indigenous Authorities of Colombia (Autoridades Indigenas de Colombia) AICO 21,304 13.52 1
Total (turnout %)    
Source: Registraduria Nacional del Estado Civil.

Note: As the blank vote percentage was 58.21% (more than 50%), this special election must be repeated, with the same parties but different candidates [1]

Judicial branch[edit]

The civilian judiciary is a separate and independent branch of government. Guidelines and the general structure for Colombia's administration of justice are set out in Law 270 of March 7, 1996. Colombia's legal system has recently begun to incorporate some elements of an oral, accusatorial system. The judicial branch's general structure is composed of four distinct jurisdictions (civilian, administrative, constitutional, and special). Colombia's highest judicial organs include the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the Constitutional Court, and the Superior Judicial Council. This sometimes leads to conflicting opinions since there is no one court which clearly has authority over the decisions of the other three.

International organization participation[edit]

BCIE, CAN, CDB, CSN, FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ITUC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO

External links[edit]