Politics of Guatemala

State Structure and Political System of Guatemala

Middle America

Guatemala is a unitary constitutional state, a republic with a presidential form of government. The 1985 Constitution is in force as amended in 1993. Administrative division: 22 departments (Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Chimaltenango, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Xalapa, Peten, Quetzaltenango, Quiche, Retaluleu, Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Solola, Suchitepekes, Toto-nikapan, Zacapa, Jutiapa). Major cities: Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, Puerto Barrios, Cobán. The principles of public administration provide for the division of power into executive, legislative and judicial. The highest legislative body is the unicameral National Congress, which consists of 113 deputies who annually elect the leadership of the chamber. Executive power is exercised by the president, who heads the government. Check diseaseslearning for political system of Guatemala.

Head of State – President Oscar Berger Perdomo (2004-08), leader of the BNS, ex-mayor of the capital, won the second round of elections held on December 28, 2003. His program is aimed at creating an integral public security system, stimulating production, social investment and environmental protection. One of his first steps was to conclude an agreement with the heads of municipalities on the strengthening of local authorities, the implementation of peace agreements and the transparency of public administration. Vice President Eduardo Stein Barrillas also represents the BNC. The President and Vice President are elected in general elections (a second round is provided) for 4 years. Re-election of the head of state is not allowed, the vice president can run for president only after 4 years from the end of his mandate. faces,

The electoral system was modified as a result of the constitutional reform of 1993, the age limit for candidates for the highest posts in the state is 40 years. Parties that receive less than 4% of the votes cease their activities. Executive power in departments is exercised by governors appointed by the president; mayors (alcaldes) of cities and heads of municipal councils are elected in general elections, their term of office is 4 years.

The formation of the modern party system took place from the middle. 1980s At the initial stage of democratization, the leading role was played by the centrist parties – the CDU (Christian Democrats) and the Union of the National Center. From the beginning 1990s the influence of the centrists weakened, right-wing and center-right parties (GRF and PNA) began to dominate in parliament. The participation of the leftist coalition in the post-war elections of 1999 and 2003 and the election of its congressional candidates did not change the situation. The President of the Congress is Ronaldo Morales Chavez, one of the leaders of the NED bloc. 15 parties and coalitions are represented in the parliament; The largest faction has the SRF with 39 seats, the BNS with 33, the NED with 28, and the PNA with 14. The rest of the factions include less than 10 deputies; The GRNE has 2 mandates, and the CDA has 1. The reforms envisaged by the Peace Accords, aimed at deepening democracy and dismantling the structures of military authoritarianism, are stalling.

Leading business organizations: Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Finance, National Union of Agrarians, Association of Coffee Producers and Association of Managers of Guatemala. Mutual Support Groups, Guatemalan NGO Coordinating Forum, National Coordination of Guatemalan Peasant Organizations, Association of Guatemalan Women, Association for the Promotion and Development of Communities, Petén’s Front Against Repression are represented by non-governmental organizations.

The government’s domestic policy is aimed at liberalizing public life. Laws have been passed on Development Councils, on regionalization, a new Municipal Code, a Secretariat for Women’s Affairs has been created under the President and a Department for the Protection of Indian Women is operating, scholarships are being paid for children from poor families, 1.7 million schoolchildren receive free breakfasts. Through the National Land Fund, land is distributed, 37 thousand peasants received land in 2001. The implementation of peace agreements is hampered by rampant crime, political violence, impunity for those responsible for human rights violations, and corruption in government. Contradictions between the executive and legislative branches of power have intensified against the backdrop of corruption scandals around the presidential administration and the police leadership.

Priority directions of foreign policy: development of relations with the USA, with the countries of Central America, EU, Japan and Taiwan. In April 2002, the National Council for Foreign Policy was established as an auxiliary body under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The government is seeking an increase in humanitarian aid from the EU. Japan provides assistance to development projects, provided 1.2 million dollars for organizing medical care for the rural population. Guatemala participates in the Central American Integration System and actively develops economic ties with El Salvador and Honduras. In 1998, diplomatic relations with Cuba were normalized, interrupted in 1961. The territorial dispute with Belize (Guatemala claims 12,172 km2 of its border territory) has not been resolved. In 2000-02, with the mediation of the OAS, negotiations were held on its settlement, and a bilateral commission was created.

Armed forces: 3 types of troops – army, air force and navy. In 1997, the number of military personnel was 39.6 thousand; in the Air Force – 1400, in the Navy – 1200; 19 military zones, 3 strategic brigades, 43 battalions (including 2 airborne, 1 marines), 3 air force bases, 2 naval bases. In accordance with the Peace Agreements, by 2002, 22 battalions were disbanded, the General Staff under the President was disbanded, the size of the army was reduced to 28 thousand, the Air Force – 1000 people, the Navy – 1000 people; in the national civilian police – 18 thousand people.

Guatemala has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1945, carried out since 1991).

Politics of Guatemala