Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

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Public Bodies

National Legislative Power

The legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly, previously known as the National Congress, made up of deputies elected in each federal entity. Every federal entity, including the indigenous population, has the right to elect three representatives to the National Assembly.

The Assembly consists of one Chamber, unlike the previous National Congress, which had two Chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators. Following the last elections on 30 July 2000, 165 deputies were elected for a period of five years, who can be re-elected for two further consecutive periods.

To be eligible to become a deputy one has to be older than 21 years of age and have been resident for at least four consecutive years in the corresponding federal entity prior to the date of the election.

The current Magna Charta also accepts the postulation of those citizens who have acquired the Venezuelan nationality and have resided for at least 15 years in Venezuela.

Deputies enjoy immunity in the exercise of their functions from the moment of their proclamation until the end of their term office or their resignation. Only the Supreme Court of Justice can order the detention of a deputy with the authorization of the National Assembly, following the removal of his or her parliamentary immunity.

Article 187 lists the responsibilities of the National Assembly of which the following should be highlighted:

• To legislate in national affairs

• To reform the Constitution

• To act as a control of Government and Public Administration

• To approve the national budget and public borrowing

• To approve in general terms economic policies

• To authorize the Executive to sign contracts of national interest

• To censure the Vice-President and Ministers

• To authorize the absences of the President from Venezuela

To approve the international agreements and treaties which the Executive signs, etc.

Executive Power

The President, the Vice-President and the Ministers, amongst other officials, exercise the executive power.

The President is the Head of State and of the National Executive. To be elected President one has to be Venezuelan by birth, not have another nationality, be more than 30 years of age, with no criminal convictions. The Vice-President has to fulfill the same requisites and cannot be related in any way with the President.

The Vice-President is the closest collaborator of the Head of State and of the Government and can only be appointed or removed by the President.

The central executive power lies in the hands of 14 ministries, which form the governmental cabinet, the result of the fusion of some ministries, in accordance with the Organic Law of the Central Administration, modified and approved in the Council of Ministers in September 1999.

Judicial Power

The administration of judicial power is the responsibility of the Supreme Tribunal for Justice, of other courts as established by Law, of the Public Ministry, of the Office of the Ombudsman and of other authorities responsible for criminal investigation.

The judicial power is independent and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice enjoys operative, financial and administrative autonomy. The judicial system will be assigned an annual income which varies, but which will never be less than 2% of the ordinary national budget.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice, previously known as the Supreme Court of Justice, is responsible for the regulation, the direction and the administration of the judicial power, as well as the overseeing and inspection of the courts and the offices of the public defenders.

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is divided into Plenary, Constitutional, Political-Administrative, Electoral, Civil, Social and Criminal Cassation Courts.
The Magistrates of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice are elected for one period of 12 years.

The most important responsibilities of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice are:
• To exercise constitutional jurisdiction

• To study if there are reasons for impeaching the President, the Vice-President, the    members of the National Assembly, the Ministers, the General Solicitor, the General    Prosecutor, the Comptroller General, the Ombudsman, the state governors,
   the general and admirals of the Armed Forces and the Heads of Diplomatic Missions

• To declare the invalidity of administrative acts

• To interpret law

• To decide in conflicts of competence

• To know the resources of cassation, etc

Simon Bolivar

Liberator of Venezuela
Statistics on Confiscations
and Detainees at Venezuelan

2002 - 2006 (PDF)

Drugs Fighting