What Type Of Government Does Guatemala Have?

The flag of Guatemala.
The flag of Guatemala.

Government Of Guatemala

The government of Guatemala is a representative democratic republic. This governmental framework means that the general population votes for individuals to represent their interests in politics. This country is led by the President, who is both Head of State and Head of Government. In 1985, Guatemala established its Constitution, which defines a separation of governmental powers through the creation of 3 branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. This article takes a closer look at each one.

Executive Branch Of The Government Of Guatemala

The executive branch of government is headed by the President of Guatemala, who is elected by the general population to serve a 4-year term. The presidency is limited to one term. The President is responsible for making sure that the executive branch, made up of ministries, is carrying out the legislation passed by the Congress of Guatemala. Additionally, the President acts as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and negotiates international treaties and relations.

The Vice President, who serves below the President, may run in elections as a presidential candidate after spending 4 years out of the Vice Presidential office.

Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Guatemala

The legislative branch of government is made up of the Congress of Guatemala. This unicameral legislative body has 158 members, who are elected by the general population for a term of 4 years. Each member is selected based on party-list proportional representation, 31 of whom are elected from a national list. The other 127 congressional deputies are elected to represent the 22 departments of Guatemala. The number of deputies from each department is based on its population size. The Department of Guatemala, where the capital is located, is divided into 2 districts and has the largest representation in Congress with 30 members. Congress is responsible for drafting, reading, and introducing new legislation and policies. These bills are then negotiated and voted on. If passed, bills go on to the President to be signed into law.

While serving in Congress, members may decide to change political parties or remove themselves from one political affiliation in order to establish a new political party. Currently, 95 seats are held by political parties in support of the government and 63 in opposition. The supporting political parties include: Renewed Democratic Liberty (44 seats), Todos (18 seats), Patriotic Party (17 seats), National Convergence Front (11 seats), and CREO-Unionist Party (10 seats).

Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Guatemala

The judicial branch of government works independently of the legislative and executive branches. It is tasked with ensuring laws are followed concerning a number of cases. The highest courts of the country are the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals and is overseen by a panel of 13 judges. Supreme Court justices serve for 5-year terms and decide on a President for each term. The President of the Supreme Court is in charge of managing trial judges from around the country.

The Constitutional Court is responsible for hearing cases that involve constitutional interpretation. It is overseen by a panel of 5 judges, who serve 5-year terms. Each judge acts as the President of the court for 1 year during their term. The Constitutional Court judges are elected by the following bodies: the President (1), Congress (1), Supreme Court (1), Superior Council of the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala (1), and Bar Association (1).


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