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Government in Guatemala


Guatemala is a constitutional democratic republic whereby the President of Guatemala is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Congress of the Republic (Congreso de la República). The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The president and vice president are directly elected through universal suffrage and limited to one term. A vice president can run for president after four years out of office.

The Congress of the Republic has 158 members, elected for a four-year term, partially in departmental constituencies and partially by nationwide proportional representation.

The Constitutional Court (Corte de Constitucionalidad) is Guatemala's constitutional court and only interprets the law in matters that affect the country's constitution. It is composed of five judges, elected for concurrent five-year terms, each serving one year as president of the Court: one is elected by Congress, one elected by the Supreme Court of Justice, one is appointed by the President, one is elected by Superior Council of the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, and one by the Bar Association (Colegio de Abogados).

The Supreme Court of Justice (Corte Suprema de Justicia) is Guatemala's highest court and comprises thirteen members, who serve concurrent five-year terms and elect a president of the Court each year from among their number. The president of the Supreme Court of Justice also supervises trial judges around the country, who are named to five-year terms). The Supreme Court has an Appeal Court formed by 43 members. When one of the Supreme Court is absent or cannot participates in a case, one of the Appeal Court takes its place


Country name : conventional long form: Republic of Guatemala
conventional short form: Guatemala
local long form: Republica de Guatemala
local short form: Guatemala
Government type : constitutional democratic republic

: name: Guatemala City
geographic coordinates: 14 37 N, 90 31 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions : 22 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retalhuleu, Sacatepequez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola, Suchitepequez, Totonicapan, Zacapa
Independence : 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday : Independence Day, 15 September (1821)
Constitution : 31 May 1985, effective 14 January 1986; suspended 25 May 1993; reinstated 5 June 1993; amended November 1993
Legal system
: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
International law organisation participation : has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; the Congress ratified Statute of Rome on 18 January 2012, and ICCt jurisdiction entered into force on 23 February 2012
Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal; note - active duty members of the armed forces and police may not vote by law and are restricted to their barracks on election day
Executive branch
: chief of state: President Otto Fernando Perez Molina (since 14 January 2012); Vice President Ingrid Roxana Baldetti Elias (since 14 January 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Otto Fernando Perez Molina (since 14 January 2012); Vice President Ingrid Roxana Baldetti Elias (since 14 January 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 11 September 2011; runoff held on 6 November 2011 (next to be held in September 2015)
election results: Otto Fernando Perez Molina elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote - Otto Fernando Perez Molina 53.7%, Manuel Baldizon 46.3%
Legislative branch

: unicameral Congress of the Republic or Congreso de la Republica (158 seats; members elected through a party list proportional representation system)
elections: last held on 11 September 2011 (next to be held in September 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - PP 26.62%, UNE-GANA 22.67%, UNC 9.50%, LIDER 8.87%, CREO 8.67%, VIVA-EG 7.87%, Winaq-URNG-ANN 3.23%, PAN 3.12%, FRG 2.74%, PU 2.70%, other 3.59%; seats by party - PP 57, UNE-GANA 48, LIDER 14, UCN 14, CREO 12, VIVA-EG 6, PAN 2, Winaq-URNG-ANN 2, FRG 1, PU 1, Victoria 1; note - changes in party affiliation now reflect the following seat distribution: as of 15 April 2013 - PP 59, LIDER 36, TODOS 16, CREO 9, GANA 8, independents 7, UNE 7, EG 3, PU 3, UCN 3, FRG 2, PAN 1, URNG 1, Victoria 1, VIVA 1, Winaq 1
Judicial branch : highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 13 magistrates including the court president and organised into several chambers); note - the court president also supervises trial judges countrywide; Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitcionalidad (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates elected by the Congress of the Republic from candidates proposed by the Postulation Committee, an independent body of deans of the country's university law schools, representatives of the country's law associations, and representatives of the Court of Appeal and other tribunals; magistrates elected for renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court judges - 1 elected by the Congress of the Republic, 1 by the Supreme Court president, 1 by the president of the republic, 1 by the University of San Carlos, and one by the BAR association; judges elected for concurrent 5-year terms; the presidency of the court rotates among the magistrates for a single 1-year term
subordinate courts: numerous first instance and appellate courts
Political parties and leaders

: Commitment, Renewal, and Order or CREO [Rodolfo Neutze];
Democratic Union or UD [Edwin Armando Martinez Herrera];
Encounter for Guatemala or EG [Nineth Montenegro];
Everyone Together for Guatemala or TODOS [Jorge Mario Barrios Falla];
Grand National Alliance or GANA [Jaime Antonio Martinez Lohayza];
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity or URNG [Hector Alfredo Nuila Ericastilla];
Guatemalan Republican Front or FRG [Luis Fernando Perez];
National Advancement Party or PAN [Juan Gutierrez];
National Unity for Hope or UNE;
National Welfare or Bien [Sandra Torres];
Nationalist Change Union or UCN [Mario Estrada];
New National Alternative or ANN [Pablo Monsanto];
Patriot Party or PP [Ingrid Roxana Baldetti Elias];
Renewed Democratic Liberty or LIDER [Manuel Baldizon];
Unionista Party or PU [Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen];
Victoria (Victory) [Abraham Rivera];
Vision with Values or VIVA [Manuel Alfredo Villacorta Miron] (part of a coalition with EG during the last legislative election);
Winaq [Rigoberta Menchu]
Political pressure groups and leaders
: Alliance Against Impunity or AI (which includes among others Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), and Family and Friends of the Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA))
Agrarian Owners Group or UNAGRO
Committee for Campesino Unity or CUC
Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations or CACIF (which includes among others the Agrarian Chamber (CAMAGRO) and the Industry Chamber of Guatemala (CIG))
Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (Camara de Comercio)
International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala or CICIG
Mutual Support Group or GAM
Movimiento PRO-Justicia
International organisation participation
: BCIE, CACM, CD, CELAC, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, SICA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Villagran de Leon
chancery: 2220 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-4952
fax: [1] (202) 745-1908
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, McAllen (TX), Miami, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Arnold A. Chacon
embassy: 7-01 Avenida Reforma, Zone 10, Guatemala City
mailing address: DPO AA 34024
telephone: [502] 2326-4000
fax: [502] 2326-4654
Flag description : three equal vertical bands of light blue (hoist side), white, and light blue, with the coat of arms centred in the white band; the coat of arms includes a green and red quetzal (the national bird) representing liberty and a scroll bearing the inscription LIBERTAD 15 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE 1821 (the original date of independence from Spain) all superimposed on a pair of crossed rifles signifying Guatemala's willingness to defend itself and a pair of crossed swords representing honour and framed by a laurel wreath symbolising victory; the blue bands stand for the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and the sea and sky; the white band denotes peace and purity
National symbol(s) : quetzal (bird)
National anthem : name: "Himno Nacional de Guatemala" (National Anthem of Guatemala)
lyrics/music: Jose Joaquin Palma/Rafael Alvarez Ovalle
note: adopted 1897, modified lyrics adopted 1934; Cuban poet Jose Joaquin Palma anonymously submitted lyrics to a public contest calling for a national anthem; his authorship was not discovered until 1911




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