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Government of Venezuelamarker is a federal republic governed by a constitution. There are five branches of government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Citizen, and Electoral.

The chief executive is President of Venezuela who is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the President. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly.


The formerly bicameral Venezuelanmarker legislature was transformed by the 1999 constitution into a unicameral National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional).

The current President, Hugo Chavez, was first elected in December 1998. His platform called for the creation of a National Constituent Assembly in order to write a new constitution. 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. Chávez was re-elected in December 2006.


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 voting age in Venezuela is 18 and older. Voting is not compulsory.

Executive branch

The president is elected by a plurality vote with direct and universal suffrage. The term of office is six years. A president may be re-elected perpetually as of February 15, 2009. The president appoints the Vice President.

The president decides the size and composition of the cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the National Assembly.

Cabinet officials include:

Legislative branch

The National Assembly has 167 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Each member may be re-elected for a maximum of two additional terms. Members are elected by a combination of party list and single member constituencies. Three Assembly seats are by law reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela. National Assembly elections were last held on 30 July 2005.When the National Assembly is not in session, its delegated committee acts on matters relating to the executive and in oversight functions.

Judicial branch

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.

Citizens branch

The citizens branch consists of three components the prosecutor general ("fiscal general"), the "defender of the people" or ombudsman, and the controller general. 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.

Electoral council

The National Electoral Council is responsible for organizing elections at all levels. Its members are elected to seven-year terms by the National Assembly.

See also



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