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The President of Venezuela (Spanish: Presidente de Venezuela), officially known as the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: Presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela) is the head of state and head of government in Venezuela. The president leads the National Executive of the Venezuelan government and is the commander-in-chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces. Presidential terms were set at six years with the adoption of the 1999 Constitution of Venezuela, and presidential term limits were removed in 2009.[1]

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela
Presidential Standard of Venezuela.svg
Incumbent
Disputed
StyleMr.President
(Señor Presidente)
or
His Excellency
Member ofCabinet
ResidenceLa Casona (es)
SeatMiraflores Palace, Caracas
AppointerPopular vote election
Term lengthSix years
Renewable indefinitely
Inaugural holderCristóbal Mendoza (First Republic)
José Antonio Páez (State of Venezuela)
FormationJanuary 13, 1830
DeputyVice President of Venezuela
Websitepresidencia.gob.ve

The office of president in Venezuela has existed since the 1811 Venezuelan Declaration of Independence from the Spanish Crown; the first president was Cristóbal Mendoza. From 1821 to 1830, Venezuela was a member state of Gran Colombia, and the Venezuelan executive was absorbed by the Colombian government in Bogotá. When the State of Venezuela became independent from Gran Colombia, the office of the president was restored under José Antonio Páez. Every head of state of Venezuela since then has held the title of president.

As of May, the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis is unresolved and who holds the office is disputed since 10 January 2019, when the opposition-majority National Assembly declared that incumbent Nicolás Maduro's 2018 re-election was invalid and the body declared its president, Juan Guaidó, to be acting president of the country.[2]

PowersEdit

 
Presidential Standard. (In Land)
 
Presidential Standard. (At Sea)

As a self described republic with a presidential executive, Venezuela grants significant powers to the president. He or she effectively controls the executive branch, represents the country abroad, and appoints the cabinet and, with the approval of the National Assembly, the judges for the Supreme Tribunal of Justice. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB).

The powers and obligations of the President of Venezuela are established, limited and numbered by articles 236 and 237 of the constitution:

  1. To comply with and enforce the Constitution and the law.
  2. To direct the activity of the Government.
  3. To appoint and remove the Executive Vice-President and the Cabinet Ministers.
  4. To direct the international relations of the Republic and sign and ratify international treaties, agreements or conventions.
  5. To direct the National Armed Forces in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, exercise supreme hierarchical Authority over the same and establish their contingent.
  6. To exercise supreme command over the National Armed Forces, promote their officers at the rank of colonel or naval captain and above, and appoint them to the positions exclusively reserved to them.
  7. To declare states of exception and order the restriction of guarantees in the cases provided for under the Constitution.
  8. To issue executive orders having the force of law, subject to authorization in advance by an enabling act.
  9. To call special sessions of the National Assembly.
  10. To issue regulations for the application of laws, in whole or in part, without altering the spirit, purpose and reason for being of the laws.
  11. To administer the National Public Treasury.
  12. To negotiate national loans.
  13. To order extraordinary budget item in addition to the budget, subject to authorization in advance from the National Assembly or the Delegated Committee.
  14. To enter into contracts in the national interest, subject to this Constitution and applicable laws.
  15. To designate, subject to prior authorization from the National Assembly or the Delegated Committee, the Attorney-General of the Republic and the heads of the permanent diplomatic missions.
  16. To designate and remove those officials whose appointment is made subject to his discretion by the Constitution or the applicable law.
  17. To address reports or special messages to the National Assembly, either in person or through the Executive Vice-President.
  18. To formulate the National Development Plan and, subject to approval in advance from the National Assembly, direct the implementation of the same.
  19. To grant pardons.
  20. To determine the number, organization and competence of the Ministries and other organs comprising the National Public Administrative Branch, as well as the organization and functions of the Cabinet Ministers, within the principles and guidelines set forth in the pertinent organic law.
  21. To dissolve the National Assembly in the case contemplated by the Constitution.
  22. To call reference in the cases provided for under the present Constitution.
  23. To call and preside over meetings of the National Defense Council.
  24. Any others vested in the President under the Constitution and law.

Complements and compensationsEdit

The President's salary directly derives from the National Treasury, as stated in the Organic Law of Salaries, Pensions and Retirements of High Officials of the Public Power. During his or her tenure, the President may not be employed by anyone else, nor receive any other salary from the state. The President's salary is not to be superior to twelve monthly minimum wages,[3] that is to say, 67,469.76 VEF (as of February 2015).[4]

The Presidential Honor Guard Brigade [es] of Venezuela is in charge of the President's protection, as well as the presidential family and their political peers. The Presidential Guard of Honor is made up of members from the four service branches of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces and other institutions of public security, and is headed by a general or flag officer.

Since 1900, the official workplace of the President is the Palace of Miraflores in Caracas. The presidential residence has been the palace of La Casona since 1964, instituted by president Raúl Leoni. La Casona was not used by previous President Maduro, who has decided not to inhabit it.[5]

HistoryEdit

 
Cristóbal Mendoza, first President of Venezuela. Painting by Martín Tovar y Tovar.

The presidential designation encompasses only those persons who were sworn into office as President of Venezuela following Venezuela's declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule, which took effect on July 5, 1811. The first president, taking office on July 5, 1811, was actually the president of a triumvirate of the first established Republic of Venezuela that rotated the presidency weekly. The person serving as president during the week of July 5 was one of the three signatories of the Declaration of Independence: Cristóbal Mendoza. Mendoza shared the triumvirate with Juan Escalona and Baltasar Padrón. A second triumvirate followed on April 3, 1812 whose members were Francisco Espejo, Fernando Toro and Francisco Javier Ustariz.[6][7]

Owing to the profound confusion of the Venezuelan War of Independence and the period of Gran Colombia over what is now Venezuela, this page has gaps between 1813 and 1819. For this period in time, historians refer to the Republic of Venezuela as the Second Republic of Venezuela (1813–1814) and the Third Republic of Venezuela (1817–1819) as Simon Bolivar twice reestablished the republic. The Congress of Angostura appointed Simón Bolívar "Supreme Commander of the Republic of Venezuela" (Jefe Supremo de la República de Venezuela) from 1819 until 1830.

In 1830, José Antonio Páez declared Venezuela independent from Gran Colombia and became president, taking office on January 13, 1830. Although he was not the first president of Venezuela (having in mind Cristóbal Mendoza in 1811), he was the first head of state of independent Venezuela, after the dissolution of Gran Colombia. From that point on, five constitutions were adopted, all slightly changing the extent of the President's powers and responsibilities.

RequirementsEdit

According to articles 227 and 229 of the Constitution of Venezuela, adopted in 1999, the following requirements must be met in order to become President of Venezuela:[8]

  • Being a Venezuelan citizen from birth and possessing no other nationality.
  • Being at least 30 years old at the time of the election.
  • Not being a subject to any conviction by final judgment.
  • Not being a Minister, Governor, Mayor or the Vice President of the Republic from the day the candidacy is announced to the day of the election.

Term limitsEdit

The current presidential term is for six years with the constitutionally guaranteed recourse of holding a popular recall referendum any time within the last three years of a presidential term. A 2009 referendum removed the previous restrictions which limited the President to 2 terms.[1]

From 1958 to 1999, the presidential term was set at five years. A sitting president was not only barred from immediate reelection, but could not run again for 10 years (equivalent to two full terms) after leaving office.

RecallEdit

The president may be recalled after a specific time in office.

Office-holdersEdit

Presidents of Venezuela who served under the 1864 constitution (starting with Juan Crisóstomo Falcón) bore the title of "President of the Union", instead of the usual "President of the Republic" still used today. Aside from that, all heads of state of the country since 1811 have held the title of "President of Venezuela", with minor variations regarding the official name of the country (which has changed four times since the restoration of the independence in 1830).

Latest electionsEdit

Candidate Party Votes %
Nicolás Maduro United Socialist Party of Venezuela 6,244,016 67.84
Henri Falcón Progressive Advance 1,927,174 20.93
Javier Bertucci Independent 983,140 10.82
Reinaldo Quijada Popular Political Unit 89 36,132 0.39
Valid votes 9,203,744 98.10
Invalid/blank votes 177,474 1.89
Total 9,381,218 100
Registered voters/turnout 20,527,571 46.07
Source: National Electoral Commission

2019 crisisEdit

Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) entered the office as interim president on 5 March 2013 after the death of Hugo Chávez, and was elected in the 2013 presidential election. He was reelected in the 2018 presidential election, which was disputed amid charges of irregularities including: the elections were held four months before the prescribed date,[9] multiple major opposition parties were banned from participating or imprisoned,[10] and there were charges of vote-buying.[11][12]

On 5 January 2019, the National Assembly declared that—following the expiration of the mandate granted through the 2013 presidential election—Maduro would have no constitutional mandate to govern Venezuela if he was sworn in on 10 January.[13] Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution establishes that in the event of a presidential vacuum, the President of the National Assembly takes charge of the presidency until a new election is called within 30 days. Noting that the 2018 presidential election failed to adhere to constitutional requirements, the National Assembly contend that Maduro's second term never began, and the seat is vacant.[14]

On 11 January, Juan Guaidó of the Popular Will party and President of the legislature stated that he was prepared to take on the role of acting President.[15] With the National Assembly recognizing a vacuum in the office of the President,[16] and citing Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution,[14] Guaidó was declared acting President of Venezuela by that body on 16 January.[14] The legislature approved the Statute Governing the Transition to Democracy to Re-establish the Validity of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: Estatuto que Rige la Transición a la Democracia para Restablecer la Vigencia de la Constitución de la República Bolivariana De Venezuela) on 5 February, defining the timing of the transition.[17]

Maduro's controversial win and Guaidó's subsequent claim triggered the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis. The international community is divided on the issue of the Venezuelan presidency;[18] AP News reported that "familiar geopolitical sides" had formed, with allies Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Cuba supporting Maduro, and the US, Canada, and most of Western Europe supporting Guaidó.[19]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Chavez wins chance of fresh term". BBC News Online (in Spanish). Caracas. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. ^ "El Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de Venezuela declara "inconstitucional" a la Asamblea Nacional y anula el nombramiento de Juan Guaidó como su presidente". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Ley Orgánica de Emolumentos, Pensiones y Jubilaciones de los Altos Funcionarios del Poder Público" (PDF). Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (in Spanish). Caracas. 12 January 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Oficializan aumento de 15% del salario mínimo". El Universal (in Spanish). Caracas. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Presidente Maduro aclaró rumores sobre presencia de familia Chávez en La Casona". Noticias Candela (in Spanish). 6 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  6. ^ (in Spanish) "Presidentes de Venezuela". Consulado General de Bucaramanga. Archived from the original on 2002-08-05.
  7. ^ Briceño Perozo, Mario. "Mendoza, Cristóbal de" in Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela, Vol. 3. Caracas: Fundación Polar, 1999. ISBN 978-980-6397-37-8.
  8. ^ Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Chapter 11 – National Executive Power
  9. ^ "Venezuela opposition weighs election run". BBC News. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  10. ^ "ANC aprobó un decreto para la validación de los partidos políticos". El Nacional. 20 December 2017.
    * Olmo (@BBCgolmo), Guillermo D. (10 January 2019). "Por qué es polémico que Maduro jure como presidente de Venezuela y por qué lo hace ahora si las elecciones fueron en mayo". BBC News Mundo. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
    * "Maduro gana con la abstención histórica más alta en comicios presidenciales - Efecto Cocuyo". efectococuyo.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
    * "Venezuela opposition banned from running in 2018 election". BBC News. 11 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Maduro eyes re-election as Venezuela fires starting gun for presidential vote". The Guardian. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Venezuela's Maduro re-elected amid outcry over vote". Reuters. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Venezuela's parliament rejects legitimacy of Maduro second term". The Straits Times. 6 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Bello, Camille (27 January 2019). "Is it legal for Juan Guaidó to be proclaimed Venezuela's interim president?". Euronews. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  15. ^ Smith, Scott (12 January 2019). "Maduro foe says he's ready to replace the president". Associated Press. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  16. ^ Armas, Mayela; Pons, Corina (15 January 2019). "Update 3-Venezuela Congress declares President Maduro 'usurper' of democracy". CNBC. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  17. ^ Brito, Estefani (8 February 2019). "El estatuto que rige la transición entró en vigencia el martes" [The statute governing the transition took effect on Tuesday]. El Nacional (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Guaido vs Maduro: Who backs Venezuela's two presidents?". Reuters. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  19. ^ Vasilyeva, Nataliya (24 January 2019). "Venezuela crisis: Familiar geopolitical sides take shape". AP News. Retrieved 25 February 2019.

External linksEdit