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Congress_of_Colombia

Congress of Colombia

The Congress of the Republic of Colombia (Congreso de la República de Colombia) is the name given to Colombia's bicameral national legislature.

The Congress of Colombia consists of the 102-seat Senate (Senado), and the 166-seat Chamber of Representatives (Cámara de Representantes). Members of both houses are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The Congress meets twice a year in two ordinary sessions: The first from July 20 to December 16, and the second from March 16 to June 20. The Executive branch can call for extraordinary sessions at any time, but never after June 20th in an election year. Every year on a July 20th the congress also internally elects the President of Congress.

Both houses of Congress meet at the neoclassical Capitolio Nacional ("National Capitol") building in central Bogotá, the construction of which began in 1847 and was not concluded until 1926. Every house has its own election procedure and individual powers that make them different from each other, which are further discussed in the article for each individual chamber.

Senate

The Senate has 102 elected members for four-year terms.

How the Senate is elected

According to the Colombian Constitution, 100 senators (senador(es)) are elected from a single national candidate list. The remaining two are elected from a special list set aside for Indigenous peoples communities. Senators can be elected by Colombian citizens abroad.

Requirements

To be a senator, a person must be a natural-born Colombian citizen who has attained the age of 30 years at the moment of election.

Exclusive powers of the Senate

  1. Approve or reject the resignations of both the President and the Vice-President.
  2. Approve or reject all military rank promotion at all grades.
  3. Grant leaves of absence for the President in cases other than sickness, and determine whether the reasons for the leave are worthy.
  4. Allow for the transit of foreign troops through Colombian territory.
  5. Authorize the Government to declare war on a foreign nation.
  6. Elect the Constitutional Court justices.
  7. Elect the Attorney General of Colombia.

The Chamber

The Chamber has 166 elected members for four-year terms.

How the Chamber is elected

According to the Colombian Constitution, every department is an electoral circumscription. There are also four special circumscriptions: One for Indian communities, one for Afro-Colombian communities (negritudes), one for other minorities and one for Colombian citizens abroad, which have become lately a coveted political group. There will be two representatives for each territorial circumscription, and every territorial circumscription will elect an additional member for every 250,000 residents or fraction greater than 125,000 residents in excess of the first 250,000 residents. The Afro-Colombian circunscription elects two representatives, and the Indian, other minority and expatriate circumscriptions elect one each.

Requirements

To be a representative, a person must be a Colombian citizen (regardless of place of birth) who has attained the age of 25 years at the moment of election.

Exclusive powers of the Chamber

  1. Elect the People's Defender of Colombia.
  2. Examine the budget and treasury audit by the Auditor General.
  3. Indict for the impeachment of the following officeholders: President, Constitutional Court justices, Supreme Court justices, Judicature Superior Council magistrates, State Council magistrates and the Attorney General.
  4. Listen to the complaints stated by the Attorney General or private citizens against the aforementioned officers, and recommend impeachment if they're worthwhile.
  5. Request the aid of other authorities to pursue the investigations.

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