State Structure and Political System of Bolivia

Politics of Bolivia

According to topschoolsintheusa, Bolivia is a unitary presidential republic. The country has a Constitution of 1967, which was substantially amended in 1994. Separate amendments were made in subsequent years.
The constitution provides for the principle of separation of powers, while the powers of the various branches are fairly balanced. The country consists of 9 departments (Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca).

The largest cities (thousand people, 2002): Santa Cruz (1135), La Paz (793, 3) and Cochabamba (517).

Legislative power belongs to the National Congress, which consists of the Chamber of Deputies (130 people), representing the interests of the main political parties and movements, and the Chamber of Senators (27 people), reflecting the interests of the departments.

In accordance with the Constitution, with the exception of specially stipulated cases, legislative functions are assigned to both chambers. Legislative initiative can belong to any member of parliament, the executive branch or the Supreme Court (when considering legal matters). After the adoption of the bill by one of the chambers, the other acts as a control.

The Congress also has important control functions. He approves the annual financial report of the government, determines the size and composition of the Supreme Court and nominates his representatives to election commissions, proposes candidates to the president for appointment to the posts of heads of state departments, investigates in case of accusations against the president, vice president, ministers, heads of diplomatic missions and the Comptroller General, approves the annual report of the executive branch on expenditures and investments and treaties and agreements signed with foreign countries. Members of Parliament can send their representatives to the executive branch to control the observance of laws. The Chamber of Deputies or the Senate may demand a change in policy or raise the issue of the resignation of a Cabinet member with the President. The Chamber of Deputies confirms the President’s decision to declare a state of siege.

The Congress establishes the size of the Armed Forces, the terms and necessity of their stay outside the country, gives permission for the movement of foreign troops through the territory of Bolivia and determines the time of their stay.

The duties of the Senate also include investigating possible charges brought by the Chamber of Deputies against members of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General, and making an appropriate decision, restoring Bolivian citizenship, and awarding the highest state awards. The Senate proposes candidates for the post of inspector general, attorney general and bank manager to the president, assigns the highest military ranks, approves or rejects ambassadors.

Executive power is exercised by the president, who is the head of state and government. In the event of the impeachment or temporary absence of the President, his duties are performed by the Vice President.

The President acts as the guarantor of the Constitution and the rule of law, but his own legislative activity is somewhat limited, although he retains the right to issue decrees and take legislative initiative. The president addresses the annual message to Congress, submits the state budget to the Congress, monitors the implementation of tax policy and the distribution of national income, distributes capital investments.

The key figures of the Attorney General, the Inspector General and the Bank Manager are appointed by the President from among the candidates proposed by the Senate, and the heads of several other departments from among the candidates proposed by the Chamber of Deputies. Ministers of State are appointed and removed directly by the President. He also appoints the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and the commanders of the main branches of the military.

The judicial system includes the Supreme Court (12 people), district and local courts. The judiciary enjoys administrative and economic autonomy. All legal costs are covered by the state. The judiciary must provide free legal protection to the poor and, if necessary, translation into Spanish.

Control over the observance of the Constitution, its interpretation and resolution of disputes arising between the branches of government is entrusted to the Constitutional Court, consisting of 5 people.

Members of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are elected by 2/3 of the votes of the deputies of the National Congress for 10 years without the right to direct re-election.

In accordance with the Constitution and the 1996 Law, the president, vice president and deputies of both chambers are elected in general elections for a term of 5 years on the basis of universal, direct, equal, secret and compulsory suffrage from among candidates nominated by officially registered political parties, fronts and coalitions. Organizations representing civil society can nominate their candidates only as part of party coalitions and fronts. The right to vote is granted from the age of 18. The entire territory of the country is represented by one nationwide, 9 departmental, divided into 62 multi-member constituencies, and 68 single-member constituencies.

The president and vice president of the country are elected from a single nationwide constituency by an absolute majority of votes. If no applicant receives 50%, the final decision is made by Congress, which selects a president and vice president by open vote from the two candidates who receive the maximum number of valid ballots. The President and Vice President cannot be directly re-elected for a second term. It is forbidden to hold the presidency for more than two terms.

68 members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected in single-member districts and 62 members in multi-member districts on party lists. The quota from each department is set based on population. In single-mandate constituencies, deputies and their deputies are elected by a simple majority of votes. In multi-mandate constituencies for parties, fronts and coalitions, a barrier of 3% is set. From each department, 3 senators and their deputies are elected – 2 from the party majority and 1 from the first minority.

Politics of Bolivia