•Colombia achieved independence from Spain in 1819.
•The country is governed by a national constitution, amended on July 5, 1991. •Colombia has three branches of Public Power: The Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. •Colombia has a democratically-elected representative system with a strong executive branch. The President is elected to a non-renewable, four-year term. The President is both the chief of state and head of government, and is elected on a national ticket with a Vice President. •There is a bicameral legislature consisting of a 102-member Senate and a 165-member House of Representatives. Both chambers are directly elected to four-year terms. •Colombia¡¦s judicial system is composed of: Supreme Court, Attorney General, Superior Council of the Judiciary, Constitutional Court and State Council. A new criminal code modeled after U.S. procedures was enacted in 1992-93. There is judicial review of executive and legislative acts. The Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia) is the highest court of criminal law, and judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms. •The next national elections are due in March 2002 (Congress) and May 2002 (Presidential). •The two largest political organizations are the Partido Social Conservador, of which President Andrés Pastrana is a member, and the Partido Liberal, which holds majorities in both houses of Congress. http://www.colombiaemb.org/kid's_homework_helper.htm
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Government: Under 1886 Constitution, executive, legislative, and judicial branches established with separation of powers and with checks and balances; nonetheless, executive retained strong policy-making authority. Chief executive is president of republic, elected by direct popular vote for four-year term and constitutionally probibited from seeking consecutive terms. Legislative authority vested in bicameral Congress consisting of 114-member Senate and 199-member House of Representatives. Congress popularly elected for four-year term. Judiciary consists of twenty-four-member Supreme Court; various district superior, circuit, municipal, and lower courts; and Council of State. In addition to national government, Colombia divided into twenty-three departments, four intendancies, and five commisaryships. Politics: Virgilio Barco Vargas of Liberal Party (Partido Liberal) elected president in May 1986, succeeding Belisario Betancur Cuartas of Social Conservative Party (Partido Social Conservador), until July 1987 known as Conservative Party (Partido Conservador). Political institutions dominated since mid-nineteenth century by Liberals and Conservatives. Both parties characterized by factional rivalries in late 1980s. Minor parties included leftist Patriotic Union (Uni๓n Patri๓tica). Political system challenged in late 1980s by various leftist guerrilla movements and by narcotics traffickers linked to rightist paramilitary groups. Four major guerrilla organizations--Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia--FARC), National Liberation Army (Ej้rcito de Liberaci๓n Nacional--ELN), Popular Liberation Army (Ej้rcito Popular de Liberaci๓n--EPL), and 19th of April Movement (Movimiento 19 de Abril--M-19)--and several smaller guerrilla groups operated in 1988. Narcotics traffickers sponsored assassinations of numerous government officials and politicians.
SEVERAL FEATURES DISTINGUISH Colombia's political system from that of other Latin American nations. Colombia has a long history of party politics, usually fair and regular elections, and respect for political and civil rights. Two traditional parties--the Liberals and the Conservatives--have competed for power since the midnineteenth century and have rotated frequently as the governing party....