Venezuela is a federal republic state based on parliamentary democracy having a presidential form of government. It comprises of 72 federal dependencies, 23 states, 2 federal territories and 1 federal district. These are mere administrative divisions linked through a high degree of centralisation with the federal government. Venezuela (official name: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) has some of the world's largest proven oil and other mineral deposits; but still most Venezuelans live in poverty.
President is both the chief of state and head of government. President is elected by popular vote for a six-year term. President enjoys the executive powers. The president appoints the Vice-President. He decides the size and composition of the cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the parliament.
The legislature is unicameral in Venezuela. The parliament called National Assembly consist of 167 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; three seats reserved for the indigenous peoples of Venezuela. Legislative power is vested only in the National Assembly. President has the power to veto acts of the National Assembly which in turn a simple majority of the Assembly can override. However, President has the power to dissolve the National Assembly under certain conditions. The people of Venezuela have limited political rights.
Judiciary is not independent in Venezuela. It is highly politicized and undermined by the chronic corruption. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1999. The judicial language used in the country is Spanish. Federal law is applicable uniformly across country. However, municipalities are the fundamental units of local governments in Venezuela and can have some local powers like raising if taxes, etc.
Venezuela is weakly ruled by law. There are no independent government institutions at the national level. The military high command is loyal to a single person, the President, rather than to the constitution and the law. Foreign nationals cannot be guaranteed a free trial from the country∆s judicial system. A high degree of corruption exists in Venezuela; especially country∆s bureaucracy and public sector is plagued with corruption.
Major political parties
Venezuela has a multi-party system, where no single party often has a chance of gaining power alone. So parties generally work with each other to form coalition governments. The major parties in the country are:
- COPEI Ż a Christian democratic party; has dominated country∆s politics for last fifty years;
- AD (Democratic Action) Ż a social democratic party, draws major support base from trade unions;
- MVR (Fifth Republic Movement) Ż advocates left-wing socialism and populism;
- MAS (Movement for Socialism) Ż a social-democratic political party;
- PPT (Homeland for All) Ż a left-wing political party, advocates personal liberty and social justice.
Major political leaders
President: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias (since February 1999, re-elected in December 2006) - MVR, supported by MAS and PPT
Next political election dates
Presidential: December 2012
National Assembly: Year 2010