The Political Organization of the Republic
Title I About the Nation and the State
Chapter I About General Principles Article 137 About the Supremacy of the Constitution
(1) The Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic. The Constitution, the international treaties, conventions, and agreements that have been approved and ratified by Congress, the laws dictated by Congress, and other related legal provisions of lesser rank make up the national legal system, in descending order of preeminence, as listed.
(2) Anyone, who attempts to change this order overlooking the procedures established in this Constitution, will be committing crimes that are to be classified and punished by law.
(3) This Constitution will not lose its validity even if it were no longer observed following a forcible action or if it were to be repealed by means other than those established herein.
(4) Any measure or action by authorities going against the provision of this Constitution will not be valid. Article 138 About the Validity of the Legal System
(1) Citizens are hereby authorized to resist usurpers through every means available to them. If a person or a group of persons, acting in the name of any principle or representation contrary to this Constitution, was to seize public power, their action will be null, non-binding, and of no value, and therefore, exercising their right to resist oppression, the people will be excused from having to comply with such actions.
(2) Those foreign states that, under any circumstance, cooperate with such usurpers will not be able to demand compliance with any pact, treaty, or agreement signed with or authorized by an usurping government as if these were obligations or commitments of the Republic of Paraguay. Article 139 About Symbols
(1) The following are symbols of the Republic of Paraguay:
- The flag of the Republic;
- The national seal; and
- The national anthem.
(2) The law will regulate the characteristics of the symbols of the Republic that were not included in the resolution of the Special General Congress of 25 November 1842 and will determine their use. Article 140 About Languages
(1) Paraguay is a bilingual country with a pluralistic culture.
(2) Its official languages are Spanish and Guaraní. The law will establish the procedures for using one or the other.
(3) Languages, as well as those of other minority groups, are part of the cultural heritage of the nation.
Chapter II About International Relations Article 141 About International Treaties
International treaties that were properly concluded and approved by a law of Congress and the instruments of ratification which have been exchanged or deposited are part of the domestic legal system in keeping with the order of preeminence established under Article 136. Article 142 About the Renouncement of Treaties
International treaties concerning human rights cannot be renounced, but must follow the procedures established herein for the amendment of this Constitution. Article 143 About International Relations
In its international relations, the Republic of Paraguay accepts international law and endorses the following principles:
1. National independence;
2. The self-determination of all people;
3. Legal equality among all states;
4. International solidarity and cooperation;
5. International protection of human rights;
6. Free navigation of international rivers;
7. Nonintervention; and
8. The condemnation of every form of dictatorship, colonialism, or imperialism. Article 144 About Relinquishing War
The Republic of Paraguay relinquishes war, but it upholds the principle of self-defense. This statement is consistent with the rights and obligations Paraguay has as a member of the United Nations and of the Organization of American States as a signatory of integration treaties. Article 145 About a Supranational Legal System
(1) The Republic of Paraguay, on an equal footing with other states, admits a supranational legal system that guarantees the enforcement of human rights, peace, justice, and cooperation, as well as political, socioeconomic, and cultural development.
(2) These decisions can be adopted only through an absolute majority vote by each house of Congress.
Chapter III About Nationality and Citizenship Article 146 About Natural Nationality
(1) The following are natural Paraguayan nationals:
- Those persons who were born in the territory of the Republic;
- Those children who were born abroad to a Paraguayan father mother, either or both, who were at the service of the Republic;
- Those children who were born abroad to a Paraguayan father or mother and who have decided to reside permanently in the Republic; and
- Children of unknown parents, found within the territory of the Republic.
(2) An interested party, if it has reached the age of 18, will obtain formal recognition of the right granted under section 3) above by simply making a statement. If the person has not reached this age yet, a statement to this effect by its legal representative will be valid until the minor becomes 18, at which time he may confirm his representative's statement.
Article 147 About the Inviolability of Natural Nationality
No natural Paraguayan national can be deprived of his nationality, but he may voluntarily relinquish it.
Article 148 About Naturalization
Foreigners may obtain the Paraguayan nationality through naturalization if they meet the following requirements:
1. To be of age;
2. To have had a minimum of three years of residence in the national territory;
3. To exercise regularly any profession, trade, science, art or industry; and
4. To have good conduct, as defined by the law.
Article 149 About Multiple Nationality
Multiple nationality may be admitted through an international treaty or though reciprocity provisions at constitutional level between the state of birth and that of adoption.
Article 150 About the Loss of Nationality
Naturalized Paraguayan nationals may lose their nationality byvirtue of a court ruling based on an unjustified absence from the Republic for more than three years or by the voluntary adoption of another nationality.
Article 151 About Honorary Nationality
Congress may award, by law, honorary Paraguayan nationality to those foreigners who have rendered outstanding services to the Republic.
Article 152 About Citizenship
A citizen is:
1. Every natural Paraguayan national over the age of 18;
2. Every naturalized Paraguayan national after two years of having obtained his naturalization.
Article 153 About the Suspension of Citizenship
(1) The exercise of citizenship will be suspended:
- If one adopts another nationality, except when international reciprocity is applicable;
- By reason of incompetence, declared through a court ruling, that would prevent one from acting freely and competently; and
- When the citizen is serving a prison sentence. The suspension of citizenship will end as soon as the cause that prompted it ends legally.
(2) The suspension ends when the reason that caused it has been removed. Article 154 About the Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Judicial Branch
(1) The law will establish provisions concerning the acquisition, recovery, and options of nationality; as well as the suspension of citizenship.
(2) The judicial branch will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear in these cases.
Chapter IV About the Territorial Organization of the Republic Section I About General Provisions Article 155 About the Territory, Sovereignty, and Inalienability
The national territory never can be transferred, leased, or alienated in any way, not even temporarily, to any other country. States maintaining diplomatic relations with the Republic, as well as international organizations of which the Republic is a member, may only acquire the necessary locations for the seat of their missions in accordance with the provisions of the law. In these cases, national sovereignty over the location will always be preserved. Article 156 About the Political and Administrative Structure
To set up a political and administrative structure of the State,the national territory will be divided into departments and municipalities that, within the limits of this Constitution and the law, will enjoy political, administrative, and regulatory autonomy in managing their interests and independence in collecting and investing their resources. Article 157 About the Capital
The City of Asuncion is the capital of the Republic and the seat of the branches of government. It is constituted as a municipality independent from the departments. A law will establish its boundaries. Article 158 About National Services
(1) The creation and functioning of national services within the jurisdiction of departments and municipalities will be authorized by law.
(2) Departmental services may be established likewise through agreements between the respective departments and municipalities. Article 159 About Departments and Municipalities
The creation, merger, or modification of departments and their capitals or of municipalities and districts, will be determined by law taking into account their socioeconomic, demographic, ecological, cultural, and historic conditions. Article 160 About Regions
Departments may be organized in regions in order to promote a better development of their respective communities. Their form and functioning will be regulated by law. Section II About Departments Article 161 About Departmental Governments
(1) The government of each department will be headed by a governor and by a departmental board. They will be elected directly by the citizens residing in the respective departments through elections that will be held simultaneously with the national general elections, and their term will last five years.
(2) The governor will represent the executive branch in implementing the national policy. He cannot be reelected.
(3) The laws will determine the composition and functions of the departmental boards. Article 162 About Requirements
(1) To become a governor, one must:
- Be a natural Paraguayan citizen.
- Be at least 30 years old.
- Be a native of the department, and have resided there for at least one year. If the candidate is not a native of the department, he must have resided there for at least five years. These two terms will be computed backwards from the date set for election.
(2) The causes for ineligibility of candidates for the post of governor will be the same to those applicable to the president and vice president of the Republic.
(3) To become a member of a departmental board, a candidate must meet all the requirements for the office of governor, except for the minimum age, which is 25.
Article 163 About Jurisdiction
A departmental government will have jurisdiction:
1. To coordinate activities among the various municipalities within the department, to organize joint departmental services such as public works, power supply, potable water, and others that would serve more than one municipality; as well as to promote associations to promote cooperation among them;
2. To prepare a departmental development plan, which must be reconciled with the National Development Plan, and to draft an annual departmental budget that will be taken into account in the National General Budget;
3. To coordinate departmental action with the activities of the central government, especially concerning national health and educational offices located within the department;
4. To appoint members of the Departmental Development Council; and
5. To exercise other powers established by this Constitution and the law.
Article 164 About Resources
Departmental administration will have the following resources:
1. Their apportionment of the taxes and contributions established and regulated by this Constitution and the laws;
2. The funds or subsidies assigned to them by the central government;
3. Their own income as determined by the law, as well as donations and legacies; and
4. Other resources established by the law.
Article 165 About Intervention
(1) The executive branch, with the prior concurrence of the Chamber of Deputies, may intervene in departmental and municipal governments in the following cases:
- At the request of the respective departmental board or city council supported by an absolute majority vote of their members;
- If the departmental board or city council has been disintegrated to such extent that it can no longer function; and
- If there are serious irregularities in the implementation of the budget or in the administration of departmental or municipal assets, after hearing the opinion of the Comptroller General of the Republic.
(2) The intervention will not last more than 90 days and, if acase described in section three above is proved, the Chamber of Deputies, by an absolute majority vote of its members, will remove the governor, mayor, departmental board, or municipal council. In this case, the Superior Electoral Court will call a new election of authorities to replace those who have been removed from office within 90 days following the resolution of the Chamber of Deputies. Section III About Municipalities Article 166 About Autonomy
Municipalities are local government organizations with legal status which, within their jurisdiction, have political, administrative, and regulatory autonomy, as well as independence in collecting and investing their resources. Article 167 About Municipal Governments
Municipal governments will be exercised by a mayor and councilmen, who will be elected directly by legally qualified voters. Article 168 About Municipal Powers
Acting within their territorial jurisdiction and in accordance with the laws, municipalities will have the following powers:
1. Free management of matters falling within their competence, especially those concerning urban affairs, the environment, food supplies, education, culture, sports, tourism, health and social assistance, credit institutions, and inspection and police bodies;
2. The administration and disposition of their assets;
3. The drafting of their budgets, with both income and expenses;
4. The apportionment of the national income;
5. The regulation of rates charged for effectively rendered municipal services, which cannot be higher than their actual cost;
6. The issuance of bylaws, regulations, and resolutions;
7. Access to national or international, private or public credit;
8. The regulation and supervision of traffic, of the public transit system, and of other matters relating to the circulation of vehicles; and
9. All other powers established by this Constitution and the law. Article 169 About Real Estate Tax
Municipalities and departmental governments will be entitled to all taxes directly affecting real estate property. Municipalities will be charged with collecting these taxes. Each municipality will retain 70 percent of real estate tax revenues collected within its jurisdiction; 15 percent will go to the respective departmental government, and 15 percent will be distributed among the low-income municipalities in accordance with the law. Article 170 About the Protection of Resources
No state institution or any autonomous, self-supported, or decentralized company may collect municipal income or revenues. Article 171 About Categories and Systems
(1) The various municipal categories and systems will be established by the law, taking into account population, economic development, geographical location, and ecological, cultural, and historical conditions; as well as other decisive factors for their development.
(2) Municipalities may associate with each other to pursue their goals and, through law, may associate with municipalities abroad.
Chapter V About Public Force Article 172 About Its Composition
Public force consists exclusively of military and police forces. Article 173 About the Armed Forces
(1) The armed forces constitute a national institution that will be organized as a permanent, professional, non-deliberative, obedient force, subordinated to the State, to the provisions of this Constitution, and to the law. Its mission is to safeguard the national territorial integrity and to defend the legitimately constituted authorities in accordance with this Constitution and the law. The law will determine its organization and personnel.
(2) Military personnel on active duty will conform their actions to the law and regulations. They cannot join any political party or movement or engage in any type of political activity. Article 174 About Military Courts
(1) Military courts will hear only crimes and disciplinary violations of military nature, which according to the law, were committed by military personnel on active duty. Their decisions can be overturned by courts of law.
(2) When the offense in question is punishable both under civilian and military penal laws, it will not be considered to be a military crime, unless it was committed by a serviceman on active duty while discharging his military duties.
(3) In cases where there is doubt as to whether a crime is civilian or military, it will be considered to be civilian. Only in cases of an armed international conflict and in no other form as prescribed by law, military courts may have jurisdiction over civilians and retired military personnel. Article 175 About the National Police
(1) The National Police is a professional, non-deliberative, obedient, permanent institution. It is subordinate to the executive branch and charged with safeguarding national domestic security.
(2) Within the framework of this Constitution and the law, theirmission is to preserve the established legal order and the rights and security of individuals and organizations and their property, to seek crime prevention, to enforce the orders issued by competent authorities, and, under court supervision, to investigate crimes. The law will regulate their organization and powers.
(3) The leader of the National Police will be a senior career officer. Policemen on active duty cannot join any political party or movement or engage in any type of political activity.
(4) The creation of independent police bodies will be established by law, which will outline their respective powers and jurisdictions within the municipal framework and within the other branches of government.
Chapter VI About the State Economic Policy Section I About National Economic Development Article 176 About the Economic Policy and the Promotion of Development
(1) The promotion of socioeconomic and cultural development is a fundamental goal of the economic policy.
(2) The State will promote economic development through the rational use of available resources to support an orderly, sustained growth of the economy, to create new sources of jobs and wealth, to increase the national wealth, and to ensure the well being of the people. Development will be promoted through comprehensive programs that will be instrumental in coordinating and guiding national economic activities. Article 177 About the Nature of Development Plans
National development plans will be indicative for the private sector, but mandatory for the public sector. Section II About Financial Organization Article 178 About the Resources of the State
To achieve its goals, the State establishes taxes, contributions, and other revenues. It exploits directly or through concessionaires those assets falling under its private domain, over which it establishes royalties, compensations, or other rights under the terms that are fair and beneficial to the national interest. It organizes the exploitation of public services and collects taxes on them. It obtains domestic or international loans earmarked for national development programs. It regulates the country's financial system, and it organizes and builds the monetary system. Article 179 About the Creation of Taxes
(1) Every tax, irrespective of its nature or name, will be exclusively established by law in accordance with fair socioeconomic principles and with policies that are favorable to national development.
(2) The determination of taxable matters, taxpayers, and the nature of the tax system can also be done only by law. Article 180 About Double Taxation
Taxation must be based on equality. No tax will have a confiscating nature. Creation and enforcement will be commensurate with the tax base and with the general conditions of the country's economy.
Title II About the structure and Organization of the State
Chapter I About the Legislative Branch Section I About General Provisions Article 182 About Its Composition
(1) The legislative branch will be exercised by Congress, which consists of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies.
(2) Members and alternate members of both chambers will be directly elected by the people in accordance with the law.
(3) Alternate members will replace members in case of death, resignation, or disability of the latter for the remainder if the constitutional term or for as long as the disability lasts, if of a temporary nature. All other cases will be resolved in accordance with the internal regulations of each chamber. Article 183 About the Joint Congressional Session
(1) Only when both chambers convene in Congress, they will have the following duties and powers:
- To administer the oath of office to the president of the Republic, the vice president, and the justices of the Supreme Court of Justice.
- To grant or to deny the appropriate authorization to the president of the Republic in those cases established in this Constitution;
- To authorize the entry of foreign armed forces into the national territory and to authorize the departure abroad of national forces, except for cases of mere courtesy;
- To receive chiefs of state or of government of other countries; and
- Other powers established in this Constitution.
(2) The presidents of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies will preside over the meetings of Congress as president and vice president, respectively.
Article 184 About Sessions
(1) Both chambers of Congress will convene yearly in ordinance sessions that will last from 1 July to 30 June of the following year, with a period of recession from 31 December to 1 March, date on which the President of the Republic will give his report. Both chambers will call special sessions or will extend their ordinary sessions through a decision approved by one-fourth of the members of either house, by two-thirds of the Standing Congressional Committee, or by an executive branch decree. The president of Congress, or of the StandingCommittee, must call the session within the peremptory term of 48 hours.
(2) The same procedure will be followed to extend sessions. Special sessions will be called to discuss a specific order of the day and will adjourn as soon as the items included on the agenda have been discussed.
Article 185 About Joint Sessions
(1) The two chambers will convene in joint sessions in those cases outlined in this Constitution or in the Congressional Bylaws, which will establish the required formalities.
(2) A legal quorum will exist if half plus one of the total number of members of each house is present. Except for those cases in which this Constitution requires a specific majority vote, all decisions will be taken by simple majority vote of all members in attendance.
(3) For the purpose of voting by each chamber of Congress, a simple majority vote consists of half plus one of those members in attendance; absolute majority consists of the legal quorum; and a two-thirds majority consists of two-thirds of the total number of members of each chamber.
(4) The provisions of this article will also apply to joint sessions of both chambers of Congress.
(5) The same system of quorum and majorities will be applicable to any elective body established by this Constitution.
Article 186 About Committees
(1) The two chambers will convene in plenary sessions or in unicameral or bicameral committees.
(2) The composition of these committees will be, as much as possible, proportional to the blocs represented in the chambers.
(3) At the start of every annual session, each chamber will designate advisory committees. These may request reports and opinions of individuals or of public or private organizations in order to produce recommendations or to facilitate the implementation of other congressional powers.
Article 187 About the Election and Term in Office
(1) Senators and deputies, and their respective alternates, will be chosen in elections held simultaneously with that of the president of the Republic.
(2) The term in office of legislators, which will be five years, will begin on 1 July. They may be reelected.
(3) A definite or temporary vacancy at the Chamber of Deputies will be filled by an alternate member who was elected for the same department of the member leaving office. A vacancy at the Senate will be filled by an alternate member included in the list proclaimed by the Electoral Court.
Article 188 About the Swearing-In Ceremony
(1) During the inauguration ceremony at the chambers of Congress, senators and deputies will be administered the oath of office and will pledge to act in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(2) None of the two chambers may convene, deliberate, or adopt decisions without the presence of an absolute majority of its members. A lesser number in attendance may, however, urge all absent members to attend the session under the terms established by each house.
Article 189 About Lifetime Senator-ship
(1) Former presidents of the Republic who were democratically elected will be national senators for life, except for those who were impeached from office.
(2) They will not count toward a quorum. They will have the right to speak, but not to vote.
Article 190 About Bylaws
Each chamber will draft its own bylaws. By two-thirds majority of its members, a chamber may admonish or reprimand any of its members for misconduct in exercising their functions, and it may suspend them for up to 60 days without pay. By an absolute majority, it may remove a member for mental or physical disability, based on a declaration of such condition by the Supreme Court of Justice. Cases of resignation will be decided by a simple majority vote.
Article 191 About Immunities
(1) No charge may be pressed in court against a member of Congress for the opinions he may have expressed in discharging his duties. No senator or deputy may be arrested from the day of his election until the end of his term, unless he is caught in flagante delicto in relation to a crime meriting a prison sentence. In this case, the official intervening will place the legislator under house arrest and report the arrest to the respective chamber and to a competent judge immediately, to whom he will submit the case files as soon as possible.
(2) If a court of law orders a pretrial inquest against a senator or a deputy, the presiding judge will send a copy of the case files to the respective chamber, which will examine the merits of the inquest and, by a two-thirds majority vote, will decide whether the senator or deputy involved should be stripped of his immunity in order to stand trial. If the chamber votes against the legislator, it will suspend his immunity so that he may be brought to trial.
Article 192 About Requests for Information
(1) Each chamber may ask other branches of government, as well as autonomous, self-supported, decentralized companies, or public officials, to submit reports on matters of public interest that it deems necessary, with the exception of matters pertaining to jurisdictional activities.
(2) The affected parties will have to submit the respective report within an established deadline, which will not be under 15 days.
Article 193 About Summoning and Interpellation
(1) Each chamber, by an absolute majority, may individually summon and interpellate ministers and other senior administration officials and directors and directors and administrators of autonomous, self-supported, or decentralizedcompanies, as well as directors and administrators of organizations charged with administering state funds and those in which the State is a majority shareholder, when the chamber is discussing a law or is studying a matter pertaining to their respective activities. The respective questions must be conveyed to the summoned official at least five days in advance. Except for those cases in which the summoned individual may claim a legal cause for being excused, it will be mandatory for him to appear before the respective chamber, to answer the questions, and to provide all the information he has been asked to give.
(2) The law will determine the participation of majority and minority blocs in the formulation of the questions.
(3) Neither the president of the Republic, the vice present, nor the members of the judicial branch may be summoned or interpalled on matters pertaining to their jurisdictional activity.
Article 194 About a Vote of Censure
(1) If a summoned official fails to appear before the respective chamber, or if this chamber considers his briefing to be unsatisfactory, the two chambers, by a two-thirds absolute majority, will issue a vote of censure against him and will recommend that the president of the Republic or the official's immediate supervisor remove him from office.
(2) If a motion of censure is not approved, no other motion may be proposed during that same period of sessions on the same subject with regard to the same minister or official.
Article 195 About Investigating Committees
(1) Both chambers of Congress may create joint investigating committees on any matter of public interest, as well as on the conduct of their members.
(2) Directors and administrators of autonomous, self-supported, or decentralized companies, those of companies in which the State is a majority shareholder, and those charged with administering state funds, as well as public officials and private citizens, must appear before the two chambers to supply the information and documents they are asked to give. The law will establish sanctions for those failing to comply with this obligation.
(3) The president of the Republic, the vice president, cabinet ministers, and judges may not be investigated on matters pertaining to their jurisdiction.
(4) The activities of congressional investigating committees will not affect the exclusive powers of the judicial branch nor violate the rights and guarantees contained in this Constitution. Their conclusions will not be binding for the courts and will not undermine court decisions. The outcome of the investigations may, however, be passed on to the courts.
(5) The judges will order, in accordance with the law, those actions and discovery proceedings that are required for the purpose of the investigation.
Article 196 About Incompatibilities
(1) Advisors of public offices or officials and employees who are on the payroll of the State or of municipalities, irrespective of their position and the nature of their remuneration, may beelected to a legislative office but cannot exercise legislative functions as long as their appointment to such positions is in force.
(2) Part-time teaching and scientific research are exempted from the incompatibilities established in this article.
(3) No senator or deputy may participate in companies exploiting services or holding concessions of the State or serve as a legal advisors or as representative of such companies, either personally or through a proxy.
Article 197 About Causes of Ineligibility
(1) The following cannot be candidates for deputies or senators:
- Those sentenced to a prison term by a final court decision until their prison term ends;
- Those who, by virtue of a court decision, have been disqualified to hold public office, until the period of disqualification ends;
- Those who have been sentenced for having committed electoral crimes until the term established by the sentence ends;
- Judges, members of the Attorney General's Office, the Special Government Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs, the Ombudsman544, the Comptroller General of the Republic, the Deputy Comptroller General, and members of the Superior Electoral Court;
- Ministers or clergymen of any religion;
- Representatives or proxies of national or foreign companies, corporations, or organizations that are concessionaires of services for the State or that administer projects or supply goods to the State;
- Police or military personnel on active duty;
- Candidates for president or vice president of the Republic; and
- Owners or partners of mass media organizations;
(2) Those affected by the causes for ineligibility described in Sections 4 through 7 have until 90 days prior to the registration of electoral slates at the Superior Electoral Court to remove the ineligibility causes.
Article 198 About Relative Ineligibility
Cabinet ministers, ministerial under secretaries; presidents of councils; or general managers of decentralized, autonomous, self-supported, binational or multinational companies, as well as those of companies in which the State is a majority shareholder; governors; and mayors, are ineligible to run for deputy or senator if they do not resign their posts at least 90 days prior to the election.
Article 199 About Leave of Absence
A senator or deputy will only be granted leave of absence when he is to be appointed to a ministerial or diplomatic post. In order to exercise these duties, he will have to request a leave of absence form the respective chamber, where he may be reinstated as soon as he ends such functions.
Article 200 About the Election of Authorities
Each chamber will name its authorities and appoint its employees.
Article 201 About the Loss of Congressional Seats
(1) In addition to those cases described earlier, a senator or deputy may lose his seat in the following cases:
- Because of a violation of the causes for ineligibility or incompatibility established in this Constitution, and
- Because of tangible evidence of improper use of the influence stemming from his office.
(2) Senators and deputies will not be forced to serve mandatory terms in office.
Article 202 About the Duties and Powers of Congress
Congress has the following duties and powers:
1. To ensure observance of this Constitution and the laws;
2. To dictate codes and other laws, and to amend or repeal them in accordance with this Constitution;
3. To establish a division of the territory of the Republic into political units; as well as regional, departmental, and municipal organizations;
4. To legislate on tax matters;
5. To annually approve the national general budget law;
6. To dictate the electoral law;
7. To determine a legal system for the sale or purchase of fiscal, departmental, or municipal assets;
8. To issue internal resolutions or agreements and to release declarations pursuant to its powers;
9. To approve or to reject treaties or other international agreements signed by the executive branch;
10. To approve or to reject loan agreements;
11. To authorize, for a limited period of time, concessions for the exploitation of national or multinational public services or of assets belonging to the State, as well as for the extraction and processing of solid, liquid, or gaseous minerals;
12. To dictate organizational laws for the administration of the Republic, for the creation of decentralized organizations, and for the organization of public credit;
13. To issue emergency laws in case of public disaster or calamity;
14. To administer the constitutional oath of office to the president of the Republic, to the vice president, and to the other officials in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution;
15. To receive annually from the president of the Republic, at the start of each regular period of sessions, a report on the general situation of the country, on its administration, and government plans;
16. To accept or to reject the resignation of the president of the Republic or of the vice president;
17. To agree on, or to make appointments as prescribed in thisConstitution and to appoint congressional representatives to serve on other State organizations;
18. To grant amnesties;
19. To decide on moving the capital of the Republic to another area of the national territory, by an absolute two-thirds majority vote of the members of each chamber;
20. To approve or reject, either partially or totally, after hearing the respective report by the Comptroller General of the Republic, the report on the details and justification of public financial income and expenses related to the implementation of the budget;
21. To regulate river, maritime, air, and space navigation; and
22. All other powers established in this Constitution.
Section II About the Formation and Approval of Laws
Article 203 About Their Origin and Initiative
(1) A law may be originated by a proposal from a member of either of the chambers of Congress, from the executive branch, by popular initiative, or by the Supreme Court of Justice, under the cases and terms established in this Constitution and the law.
(2) Exceptions concerning those laws that are to be exclusively originated by one chamber or another or by the executive branch have been expressly established in this Constitution.
(3) Every draft law is to be presented with an exposition of its motives.
Article 204 About the Approval and Promulgation of a Law
As soon as a draft law has been approved by the chamber where it originated, it will be immediately submitted to the consideration of the other chamber. If the other chamber approves it too, the draft law will have been passed. If the executive branch approves it too, the new law will be promulgated and published within five days.
Article 205 About Automatic Promulgation
Any draft law passed by Congress that was not vetoed or returned by the executive branch to the originating chamber within six working days if it has less than 10 articles, within 12 days of it has 11 to 20 articles, or within 20 days if it has more than 20 articles, will be considered to have been approved. In all cases, the law will be considered to have been automatically promulgated and its publication will be ordered.
Article 206 About the Rejection of an Entire Draft Law
When a draft law approved by one chamber is completely rejected by the other, it will be returned to the originating chamber for reconsideration. If the originating chamber passes the draft law again by an absolute majority, it will be sent again to the reviewing chamber, which can only reject it again through a two-thirds absolute majority. If not, the draft law will be considered to have been passed.
Article 207 About Procedures for Partially Changing a Draft Law
(1) A draft law approved by the originating chamber that has been partially changed by the reviewing chamber will be returned to the originating chamber, which may only discuss those changes introduced by the reviewing chamber.
(2) The following procedures will be observed in these cases:
- If the originating chamber concurs with all the changes, the draft law will have been approved.
- If the originating chamber rejects all the changes by an absolute majority, the draft law will be sent again to the reviewing chamber. If this chamber reaffirms its changes by the same majority vote, the draft law will have been approved; otherwise, the draft law version of the originating chamber will have been approved.
- If some of the changes were accepted and some rejected, the draft law will be returned again to the reviewing chamber, which may only discuss the rejected changes. If the reviewing chamber, by an absolute majority vote, reaffirms or withdraws the rejected changes, the draft law will have been approved.
(3) A draft law approved in any of the forms described in this article will be passed to the executive branch for its promulgation. Article 208 About Partial Objections
(1) A draft law that has been partially vetoed by the executive branch will be returned to the originating chamber, which will study and pass judgment on the objections. If this chamber, by an absolute majority, overrides the executive veto, the draft law will be passed on to the reviewing chamber, which will also pass judgment on the objections. If the reviewing chamber, by the same majority vote, also overrides the executive veto, the original version of the law will have been approved, and the executive branch will have to promulgate it by ordering its publication within five days. If both chambers fail to agree to override the objections, the respective draft law cannot be reconsidered during that period of sessions.
(2) The executive branch objections may be totally or partially accepted or rejected by the two chambers. If they were totally or partially accepted, the two chambers may decide, by an absolute majority, to approve the unquestioned portion of the draft law, which will then have to be promulgated by the executive branch.
(3) The originating chamber will have to consider these objections within 60 days. The reviewing chamber will also have 60 days. Article 209 About Total Objection
If a draft law is totally rejected by the executive branch, it will be returned to the originating chamber, which will discuss it again. If the originating chamber, by an absolute majority, reaffirms its earlier approval, the draft law will be passed on to the reviewing chamber. If this chamber approves it too, by the same majority, the executive branch will have to promulgate it within five working days and will order its publication. If the two chambers fail to agree to override the total rejection, that draft law cannot be considered again during that period of sessions. Article 210 About Assigning Urgent Status to Draft Laws
(1) The executive branch may request that some of the draft laws it submits to Congress be discussed urgently. In these cases, these draft laws will be considered by the originating chamber within 30 days of receipt, and the reviewing chamber will also have 30 days. The draft law will be considered to have been approved if it was not rejected within the above deadline.
(2) The executive branch may at any stage of the congressional process having submitted a draft law ask Congress to consider it urgently. In these cases, the above deadline will be computed from the time of receipt of the request by the executive branch.
(3) Either chamber may, by a two-third majority, revoke the urgent status of the draft law at any time and order that regular procedures be followed from there on.
(4) The executive branch may ask Congress to assign urgent status to only three draft laws during a regular period of legislative sessions, except when the originating chamber, by a two-thirds majority, agrees to assign urgent status to more draft laws. Article 211 About Automatic Approval
If a draft law submitted to either chamber was approved by the originating chamber during its period of regular sessions, the draft law will then be passed to the reviewing chamber, which will have to consider it within the preemptory term of three months. Once elapsed, and after the president of the originating chamber has sent written notification to his counterpart of the reviewing chamber, it will be assumed that the reviewing chamber has approved the draft law, which will thus be passed to the executive branch for promulgation and publication. The computation of the above term will be suspended from 21 December to 1 March. The reviewing chamber may consider the draft law during the next regular period of session starting on 1 March, as long as it can complete the entire process within the established preemptory term of three months. Article 212 About the Withdrawal or Renouncement of a Draft Law
The executive branch may withdraw or renounce those draft laws it has submitted to Congress, except when they have already been approved by the originating chamber. Article 213 About Publication
A law is not enforceable until it is promulgated and published. If the executive branch fails to promulgate and publish the law in accordance with the terms and conditions established in this Constitution, the president of Congress or the president of the Chamber of Deputies will promulgate it and order its publication. Article 214 About Formulas
The formula used to approve a law is: "The Paraguayan National Congress hereby approves with the force of law." The formula to be used to promulgate them is: "Be it enacted as a law of the Republic; Be it published and registered at the Official Record." Article 215 About Powers Delegated to Committees
(1) Each chamber, by an absolute majority vote, may delegate to committees the discussion of draft laws, resolutions, or declarations. By a simple majority vote it may withdraw them at any time prior to the approval, rejection, or sanction by the committee.
(2) Neither chamber may delegate the discussion of the National General Budget, codes, international treaties, draft laws on taxes or military matters, draft laws pertaining to the organization of the governmental branches, or those originated by popular initiative. Article 216 About the National General Budget
(1) The executive branch will submit to Congress by no later than 1 September each year a draft law on the National General Budget, and Congress must consider it an absolute priority. A bicameral committee will be created that, upon receipt of the draft law, will study it and file reports to the respective chambers in no later than 60 days. Upon receipt of these reports, the Chamber of Deputies will begin to study the draft law in plenary sessions and will have to make its decision within 15 consecutive days. The Senate will then have an equal period to study the draft law with any changes introduced by the Chamber of Deputies. If the Senate approves it, the draft law will have been passed. Otherwise, the Senate will return the draft law with its objections to the Chamber of Deputies, which will pass judgment on those specific points of disagreement with the Senate within 10 days. Proceedings will follow the provisions of Article 207, Sections 1, 2 and 3, in no case exeeding a period of 10 consecutive days.
(2) All the deadlines established in this article are of preemptory nature, and any failure to consider any draft law within these deadlines will be interpreted as approval. The chambers may only totally reject the draft budget law submitted by the executive branch by a two-thirds absolute majority of each chamber. Article 217 About the Period of Enforcement of the Budget
If the executive branch, for any reason, fails to submit a draft law on the National General Budget to Congress within the established deadline or if the draft law has been rejected in accordance with the previous article, the ongoing budget law will continue in force. Section III About the Congressional Standing Committee Article 218 About Its Composition
(1) Fifteen days before the summer recess, by an absolute majority, the Senate will appoint six members and three alternate members, and the Chamber of Deputies will appoint 12 members and six alternate members to serve on the Congressional Standing Committee, which will exercise its functions from the start of the summer recess to the day of resumption of regular sessions.
(2) The members of the Standing Committee will convene and appoint a president and other authorities and will notify in writing the other branches of government. Article 219 About Its Duties and Powers
The congressional Standing Committee has the following duties and powers:
1. To safeguard the Constitution and the law;
2. To dictate its own bylaws;
3. To call preparatory sessions of the two chambers to ensure that the opening of the annual period of sessions is held on time;
4. To call and to organize special sessions of the two chambers, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution;
5. To authorize the president of the Republic, during the congressional recess period, to leave the national territory in those cases established in this Constitution; and
6. Other duties and powers established in this Constitution. Article 220 About Final Reports
At the end of its tenure, the Congressional Standing Committee will submit a final report on its activities to each chamber, before which it will be liable for the measures it may have adopted or authorized. Section IV About the Chamber of Deputies Article 221 About Its Composition
(1) The Chamber of Deputies will bear the departmental representation. It will consist of at least 80 members and 80 alternate members, who will be elected directly by the people in departmental electoral districts. The City of Asuncion will be an electoral district with representation at the Chamber of Deputies. Each department will be represented by at least one member and one alternate member. Before each election, and taking into account the number of voters in each department, the Superior Electoral Court will determine the number of Seats to which each department will be entitled. As the number of voters increases, the number of deputies may be increased accordingly, by law.
(2) To be eligible to be a deputy or alternate deputy, a person must be a natural Paraguayan citizen who is at least 25 years old. Article 222 About the Exclusive Powers of the Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies has the following exclusive powers:
1. To initiate the consideration of draft laws concerning departmental or municipal legislation;
2. To appoint or propose the appointment of magistrates and officials, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and the law;
3. To agree to State intervention in departmental or municipal governments; and
4. Other exclusive powers established in this Constitution. Section V About the Chamber of Senators Article 223 About Its Composition
(1) The Senate will consist of 45 members and at least 30 alternate members, who will be elected directly by the people in one national district. As the number of voters increases, the number of senators may be increased accordingly, by law.
(2) To be eligible to be a senator or alternate senator, a person must be a natural Paraguayan citizen who is at least 35 years old. Article 224 About the Exclusive Powers of the Senate
The Senate has the following exclusive Powers:
1. To initiate the consideration of draft laws concerning the approval of treaties and international agreements;
2. To agree to promotions within the military and National Police forces from the rank of Army colonel or its equivalent in other military branches and services or from the rank of police inspector [comisario principal] in the National Police;
3. To agree to the appointment of ambassadors and ministers plenipotentiary serving abroad;
4. To appoint or propose the appointment of magistrates and officials in accordance with this Constitution;
5. To authorize the departure abroad of permanent Paraguayan military forces, as well as the entry into the country of foreign military troops;
6. To agree to the appointment of the president and the members of the board of directors of the Paraguayan Central Bank;
7. To agree to the appointment of Paraguayan directors of binational enterprises; and
8. Other exclusive powers established by this Constitution. Section VI About Impeachment Article 225 About Procedures
(1) The president of the Republic, the vice president, cabinet ministers, justices of the Supreme Court of Justice, the attorney general, the public defender, the comptroller and the deputy comptroller general of the Republic, and members of the Superior Electoral Court may be forced to undergo impeachment proceedings for malfeasance in office, for crimes committed in office, or for common crimes.
(2) The Chamber of Deputies, by a two-thirds majority, will press the respective charges. The Senate, by a two-thirds absolute majority, will conduct a public trial of those charged by the Chamber of Deputies and, if appropriate, will declare them guilty for the sole purpose of removing them from office. In cases in which it appears that common crimes have been committed, the files on the respective impeachment proceedings will be referred to a competent court.
Chapter II About the Executive Branch Section I About the President and Vice President of the Republic Article 226 About the Exercise of the Executive Branch
The powers of the executive branch are exercised by the president of the Republic. Article 227 About the Vice President
The vice president of the Republic will immediately assume all presidential powers in case of disability or temporary absence of the president or of the permanent vacancy of the presidential office. Article 228 About Requirements
To become president or vice president of the Republic, one must:
1. Be a natural Paraguayan national;
2. Be at least 35 years old; and
3. Fully exercise one's civil and political rights. Article 229 About the Duration of the Presidential Term
The president and vice president of the Republic will be in office for the unpostponable term of five year, which will be computed from 15 August following the presidential election. They can in no way be reelected. The vice president is eligible to become president in the next term if he has resigned from office six months prior to the general election. Those who have held the office of president for more than 12 months are ineligible to run for vice president of the Republic. Article 230 About Presidential Elections
The president and vice president of the Republic will be elected jointly and directly by the people, by a simple majority of voters, in general elections held between 90 and 120 days prior to the expiration of the ongoing constitutional term. Article 231 About Cases of Non-assumption of office
If the president-elect and vice president have not been proclaimed in the manner established in this Constitution in time for the date set for the inauguration, or if the elections have been nullified, the outgoing president will turn the government over to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who will hold the presidential office until the inauguration. During this period the Chief Justice will take a leave of absence from his judicial duties. Article 232 About the Inauguration into Office
The president and vice president of the Republic will take the oath of office before Congress, pledging to comply faithfully and patriotically with their constitutional functions. If on the day set for the inauguration Congress fails to have a legal quorum, the swearing-in ceremony will be held before the Supreme Court of Justice. Article 233 About Leave of Absence
(1) The president of the Republic, or any official acting in this capacity, may not leave the country without giving prior notification to Congress and to the Supreme Court of Justice. If his absence is for more than five days, authorization from the Senate will be required. During periods of congressional recess, the Congressional Standing Committee will grant the respective authorization.
(2) Under no circumstances will the president or the vice president of the Republic simultaneously leave the national territory. Article 234 About the Presidential Succession
(1) In case of disability or absence of the president of the Republic, he will be replaced by the vice president. If the vice president is also unavailable, the order of succession will be as follows: the Senate president, the Chamber of Deputies president, and the Supreme Court chief justice.
(2) The vice president-elect will assume the presidential office if left vacant before or after the proclamation of the president-
elect and will hold the office until the end of the constitutional term.
(3) If the office of vice president is left permanently vacant during the first three years of the constitutional term, an election will be held to fill it. If the vacancy occurred during the last two years of the term, Congress - by an absolute majority vote - will designate a vice president to complete the remainder of the term. Article 235 About Causes for Ineligibility
(1) The following are ineligible to run as candidates for president or vice president of the Republic:
- Cabinet ministers, vice ministers, under secretaries or officials of equivalent rank, directors general of public offices and presidents of councils; directors, managers, or general administrators of decentralized, self-supporting, autonomous, binational, or multinational state-owned companies, or those in which the State is a majority shareholder;
- Judges and members of the Attorney General's Office;
- The Public Defender, the Comptroller and Deputy Controller General of the Republic, the Special Government Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs, the president of Council for Magistrates, and members of the Superior Electoral Court;
- Representatives or proxies of national or foreign companies, corporations or organizations that are concessionaires of services for the State or that execute projects or supply goods to the State;
- Ministers or clergymen of any religion;
- Mayors and governors;
- Active duty personnel of the Armed Forces or of the National Police, except for those who retire at least one year prior to the day of election;
- Owners or partners of communications media organizations; and
- The spouse, blood relatives tot he fourth degree, or relativesby marriage to the second degree of the incumbent president or any who has held the presidential office for any length of time during the year preceding that of the election.
(2) In those cases falling under Section 1, 2, 3, and 6 of this article, the affected parties must resign and leave their respective offices at least six months before the day of the election, except for cases in which the vice presidency has been left permanently vacant.
Article 236 About Causes of Ineligibility Through Violation of the Constitution
Military or civilian leaders of a coup d'etat, armed revolution, or similar movement aimed at disrupting the order established by this Constitution, who may eventually become president or vice president of the Republic, cabinet minister, or hold a military post requiring a senior rank, will be ineligible for any public office for two consecutive constitutional terms, in addition to their respective civil liability or criminal responsibility.
Article 237 About Incompatibilities
During their tenure, neither the president nor the vice president of the Republic may hold any other public or private office, whether remunerated or not. They must exclusively engage in their presidential functions and may not engage in any trade or industrial or professional activity of any kind.
Article 238 About the Duties and Powers of the President of the Republic
The president of the Republic has the following duties and powers:
1. To represent the State and generally administer the country;
2. To observe and enforce this Constitution and the law;
3. To participate in the formation of laws in accordance with this Constitution, to promulgate and order their publication, to regulate them, and to ensure their enforcement;
4. To veto, either totally or partially, laws approved by Congress through observations or objections he may deem appropriate;
5. To issue decrees that, in order to be valid, must be countersigned by the respective minister;
6. To appoint or remove cabinet ministers, the Governmental Special Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs, and other public officials whose appointment or tenure is not otherwise regulated by this Constitution or the law;
7. To oversee the foreign relations of the Republic. In case of foreign aggression he will declare - having first been authorized by Congress - a State of National Defense or make efforts to seek peace, to negotiate and sign international treaties, to receive heads of foreign diplomatic missions and accredit their consuls, and to appoint ambassadors with the concurrence of the Senate;
8. At the start of every period of sessions, to tell Congress about the activities of the executive branch, to report on the general situation of the Republic, and to explain future governmental plans;
9. As commander in chief of the Armed Forces, a post that he cannot delegate, he will, according to the legal provisions, issuemilitary regulations and dispose of the Armed Forces, organize and distribute them. He will appoint and remove the commanders of the Public Force, adopt the necessary measures for national defense, and, by the powers vested upon him, grant military ranks to members of all branches up to the colonel or its equivalent and, with the concurrence of the Senate, award higher military ranks;
10. Based on reports by the Supreme Court of Justice, he may pardon or commute sentences imposed by the judges or courts of the Republic;
11. To call special sessions of Congress, either chamber at a time or both at the same time, in which case each chamber will consider only those issues submitted for its consideration;
12. To propose draft laws to Congress and request that some draft laws be considered on an urgent basis in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution;
13. To order the collection and investment of the revenues of the Republic in accordance with the National General Budget and with the laws and to give an annual report to Congress on the implementation of the budget;
14. To prepare and to submit to the two chambers the annual draft of the National General Budget;
15. To ensure that the measures ordered by authorities created under this Constitution are observed; and
16. Other duties and powers established by this Constitution.
Article 239 About the Duties and Powers of the Vice President of the Republic
The vice president of the Republic has the following duties and powers:
1. To immediately replace the president of the republic in those cases described by this Constitution;
2. As designated by the President of the Republic to represent him both domestically and internationally with full presidential prerogatives; and
3. To participate in the deliberations of the Council of Ministers and to coordinate relations between the executive and legislative branches.
Section II About Cabinet Ministers and the Council of Ministers
Article 240 About Ministerial Function
The conduction and management of public business is entrusted to ministers of the executive branch, whose number and functions are determined by the law. During the temporary absence of a minister, he will be replaced by a vice minister of his area.
Article 241 About Requirements, Compatibility, and Immunity
To become a minister, one must meet requirements to become a deputy. Ministers are also affected by the same causes for incompatibility affecting the president of the Republic, except that they may hold a teaching job. Ministers cannot be deprived of their freedom, except when they are involved in cases similar to those when members of Congress are not protected by their immunity.
Article 242 About the Duties and Powers of Ministers
Ministers are the chief administrators of their respective ministries in which, under the leadership of the president of the Republic, they promote and implement policies relating to matters falling within their jurisdiction.
Article 243 About the Duties and Powers of the Council of Ministers
(1) When summoned by the president of the Republic, the ministers gather in a council in order to coordinate the executive tasks, to set going the policy of the government and to adopt collective decisions.
(2) It is the competence of this council:
- To deliberate on all affairs of public interest submitted to it by the president of the Republic, in its capacity as a consultative body, and to consider legislative initiatives; and
- To periodically publish its resolutions.
Section III About the Office of the Government Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs Article 244 About Its Composition
The office of the Governmental Attorney for patrimonial Affairs will comprise a government attorney and other officials established by the law. Article 245 About Requirements and Appointments
The Government Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs will have to meet the same requirements applicable to the Attorney General. He will be appointed and removed by the president of the Republic. The causes for incompatibility will be established by law. Article 246. About his Duties and Powers
The Special Government Attorney for Patrimonial Affairs has the following duties and powers:
1. To represent and defend, both in court and out of court, the patrimonial interests of the Republic;
2. To issue opinions in cases and for the purposes established in the laws;
3. To give legal advice to the public administration institutions, as prescribed by the laws; and
4. Other duties and powers established by the laws.
Chapter III About the Judicial Branch Section I About General Provisions Article 247 About its Function and Composition
The judicial branch is the guardian of the Constitution. It interprets the Constitution, complies with it, and orders its enforcement. The judicial branch is in charge of administeringjustice. It is exercised by the Supreme Court5413 of Justice, and by appellate and lower courts541 as established by this Constitution and the laws. Article 248 About the Independence of the Judicial Branch
(1) The independance5421 of the judicial branch is guaranteed. Only the judicial branch may hear and decide on conflictive cases.
(2) In no case will members of other branches of government or other officials claim to have judicial powers other than those expressly established by this Constitution, nor can they reopen closed cases, paralyze existing ones, or interfere in any way with ongoing court cases. Acts of this nature are completely null. This will not preclude, however, solutions through arbitration on cases falling within the framework of private law, following the procedures established by law to ensure the right to defense and equitable solutions.
(3) Those who seek to curtail the independence of the judicial branch will be ineligible to hold public office for five consecutive years, in addition to other penalties established by the law. Article 249 About Budgetary Independence
(1) The judicial branch will have its own budget. The National General Budget will allocate the judicial branch an amount that will not be lower than 3 percent of the central government's budget.
(2) The judicial branch budget will be approved by Congress and the Comptroller General will verify all its expenses and investments. Article 250 About Swearing-In Ceremonies
Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice will take the oath of office before Congress. All other judges will be sworn in before the Supreme Court of Justice. Article 251 About Appointments
Members of appellate or lower courts of the Republic will be appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice from a list of three candidates proposed by the Council for Magistrates. Article 252 About the Irremovability of Judges
(1) A judge is irremovable from his post, seat, or rank during the term for which he has been appointed. He cannot be transferred or promoted without his prior, express consent. He is appointed for a five-year term, which begins on the day of his appointment.
(2) Any judge confirmed for two terms following the term of his appointment will be irremovable from his post until he reaches the mandatory retirement age for justices of the Supreme Court of Justice. Article 253 About the Trial and Removal of Judges
Judges will be tried and removed from office for crimes or malfeasance in office, as described in law through a decision of a Trial Jury For Magistrates. The jury will consist, on an ad hoc basis, of two justices of the Supreme Court of Justice, two members of the Council for Magistrates, and two senators and two deputies who must be attorneys. The functioning of the Trial Jury for Magistrates will be regulated by law. Article 254 About Incompatibilities
While in office, judges may not hold another public or private office, whether remunerated or not, with the exception of part-
time teaching or scientific research. They may not exercise any trade, industrial or professional activity, or hold any office in other official or private organizations, parties, or political associations or movements. Article 255 About Immunities
No judge can be accused or interrogated in court for the opinions he may have expressed in the discharge of his duties. He will not be detained or arrested unless he is caught in flagrante delicto in relation to a crime meriting a prison sentence. In this case, the official intervening in the case will place the judge under house arrest, immediately report the case to the Supreme Court of Justice, and submit the case files to the competent judge. Article 256 About Court Procedures
(1) Court procedure will be orally and publicly held in the manner and to the extent established by law.
(2) Every court ruling must be based on this Constitution and the law. Court rulings may be freely criticized.
(3) Labor proceedings will be orally held and will be based on the principles of expeditiousness, economy, and concentration. Article 257 About the Obligation To Cooperate With Justice
State organizations must be subordinated to the dictates of the law, and State officials must give each court every cooperation they may require. Section II About the Supreme Court of Justice Article 258 About Its Composition and Requirements
(1) The Supreme Court of Justice consists of nine members. It is organized in chambers, one of which will hear constitutional matters. Every year, the members of the Supreme Court will elect one of the justices as their president. Members of the Supreme Court will have the title of minister.
(2) To become a member of the Supreme Court of Justice, one must have natural Paraguayan nationality, be 35 years old, hold a doctorate in law, and enjoy an honorable reputation. Additionally, one must have practiced law, held a court office, or held a teaching job at a law school for at least 10 years, either jointly, separately, or successively. Article 259 About Its Duties and Powers
The Supreme Court of Justice has the following duties and powers:
1. To supervise every judicial branch organization and to decide, on an unappealable basis, conflicts of jurisdiction and competence, in accordance with the law;
2. To issue its own bylaws and to submit an annual report to the legislative and executive branches on its activities, as well as on the status, and needs of the judicial system;
3. To hear and decide the appeals established by law;
4. To hear and decide habeas corpus petitions with original jurisdiction, without detriment to the jurisdiction of other judges and courts;
5. To hear and decide cases of unconstitutionality;
6. To hear and decide on final sentences by virtue of its reviewing power in the manner and to the extent established by law;
7. Acting on its own or at the request of the Trial Jury for Magistrates, by an absolute majority of its members, it will preventively suspend those judges who are standing trial until a final decision is reached on their case;
8. To supervise detention centers and prisons;
9. To hear cases involving conflicts of jurisdiction between the executive branch and departmental governments, or between departmental and municipal governments; and
10. Other powers established by this Constitution and the law. Article 260 About the Duties and Powers of the Constitutional Chamber
The Constitutional Chamber has the following duties and powers:
1. To hear and resolve cases involving the unconstitutionality of the laws and of other related instruments, declaring inapplicability for each specific case of a legal provision that is contrary to this Constitution through rulings that will only affect the case in question; and
2. To decide on unconstitutionality of final or interlocutory decisions, nullifying those that contradict this Constitution.
Petitions of unconstitutionality may be filed directly before the Constitutional Chamber or by way of defense before any other court and at any moment during a case. In such cases, the respective files will be submitted to the Supreme Court. Article 261 About the Removal and Retirement of Supreme Court Justices
Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice may be removed only through impeachment. Their mandatory retirement age is 75. Section III About the Council for Magistrates Article 262 About Its Composition
(1) The Council for Magistrates consists of:
- A member of the Supreme Court of Justice who has been designated by this Court;
- A representative of the executive branch;
- A senator and a deputy, chosen by their respective chambers;
- Two practicing attorneys, chosen by their colleagues in a direct election;
- A law professor at the Law Faculty of the National University, chosen by his colleagues; and
- A law professor of a private law faculty that must have been functioning for at least 20 years, chosen by his colleagues;
(2) The laws will regulate the appropriate systems of elections. Article 263 About Requirements and Duration Term of Office
(1) The members of the Council for Magistrates must meet the following requirements: One must hold Paraguayan nationality, be at least 35 years old, have the university degree of a lawyer, and, for at least 10 years, have been a practicing attorney or a law professor or have held a court office, whether simultaneously, separately, or successively.
(2) The council lasts three years and its members will enjoy the same immunities applicable to the justices of the Supreme Court. Incompatibilities will be established by law. Article 264 About Duties and Powers
The Council for Magistrates has the following duties and powers:
1. To propose a list of three candidates - selected on the basis of their abilities, qualifications, and merits - for each seat of the Supreme Court of Justice, and to submit such lists to the Senate, which will appoint said justices with the concurrence of the executive branch;
2. To propose a list of three candidates, following the above selection criteria and guidelines, for each member of appellate and lower courts, as well as for members of the Attorney General's Office;
3. To draft its own bylaws; and
4. Other duties and powers established in this Constitution and the law. Article 265 About the Court of Audit and Auxiliary Courts and Organizations
(1) The Court of Audit is hereby established. Its composition and jurisdiction will be established by law.
(2) The structure and functions of the other judicial courts and auxiliary organizations, as well as of the judicial school, will be established by law. Section IV About the Attorney General's Office Article 266 About Its Composition and Functions
The Attorney General's Office represents society before the State jurisdictional organizations. It enjoys functional and administrative independence in discharging its duties and in exercising its powers. It is exercised by the Attorney Generaland by state attorneys as established by law. Article 267 About Requirements
To become Attorney General it is required to hold Paraguayan nationality, to be at least 35 years of age, have the university degree of a lawyer, and, for at least five years, have been a practicing lawyer or a law professor or have held a court office; whether simultaneously, separately, or successively. The Attorney General has the same limitations and immunities as judges. Article 268 About Duties and Powers
The Attorney General's Office has the following duties and powers:
1. To safeguard respect for the law and for constitutional guarantees;
2. To exercise public criminal action to defend the property of the public and society, the environment, or other general interests, as well as the rights of Indian people;
3. To exercise criminal action in those cases in which the law does not require the affected party to press charges to start a prosecution. This will not preclude, however, the court or judge from acting ex officio, in accordance with the law;
4. To obtain information from public officials in order to adequately discharge its functions; and
5. Other duties and powers established by law. Article 269 About Election and Term of Office [of the Attorney General]
The Attorney General is irremovable from office. His term will last five years and he may be reelected. He is appointed by the executive branch with the concurrence of the Senate from a list of three candidates proposed by the Council for Magistrates. Article 270 About State Attorneys
State attorneys are appointed following the procedures established in this Constitution for the appointment of judges. Their term in office, as well as procedures for their removal, are also the same to those applicable to judges. Additionally, they have the same limitations and immunities established for judges. Article 271 About Installation Ceremonies
The Attorney General will take the oath of office before the Senate, while State attorneys will do so before the Supreme Court of Justice. Article 272 About a Judicial Police Body
The law may create a judicial police body, subordinated to the judicial branch, which will cooperate directly with the Attorney General's Office. Section V About Electoral Justice Article 273 About Its Jurisdiction
(1) The calling of general, departmental, or municipal elections, as well as the judgment, organization, direction, and supervision of matters and actions related to elections, fall exclusively within the jurisdiction of the electoral courts.
(2) Electoral courts also have jurisdiction over matters stemming from any type of popular consultation, as well as over elections in the way political parties and movements function. Article 274 About Its Composition
Electoral justice consists of a Superior Electoral Court, lower courts, and state attorneys, as well as other organizations to be established by law, which will determine its organization and functions. Article 275 About the Superior Electoral Court
(1) The Superior Electoral Court will consist of three members who may be elected or removed following procedures established for the justices of the Supreme Court of Justice.
(2) To be a member of the Superior Electoral Court one will have to meet the following requirements: be a Paraguayan citizen, be at least 35 years of age, hold a law university degree, and, for at least 10 years, have been a practicing lawyer or a law professor or have held a court office, whether simultaneously, separately, or successively.
(3) The laws will establish those cases in which its decisions may be brought before the Supreme Court of Justice, which will decide the appeal following summary proceedings.
Chapter IV About Other State Organizations Section I About the Public Defender Article 276 About the Public Defender
The Public Defender is a congressional commissioner charged with defending human rights, with channeling popular complaints, and with protecting community interests. In no case will he perform any judicial or executive function. Article 277 About His Autonomy, Appointment, and Removal
The public Defender is both autonomous and irremovable. He will be appointed by a two-thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies from a list of three candidates proposed by the Senate. He will serve a five-year term, which will coincide with the congressional term. He may be reelected. He may also be removed for malfeasance in office following the impeachment proceedings established in this Constitution. Article 278 About Requirements, Limitations, and Immunities
The Public Defender must meet the requirements applicable to deputies. He will be liable to the same limitations and immunities as judges. During his tenure, he may not hold anygovernmental office or engage in any type of political activity. Article 279 About his Duties and Powers
The Public Defender has the following duties and powers:
1. To receive and to investigate reports or complaints of human rights violations, as well as other actions as established by this Constitution and the law.
2. To obtain information from officials at all levels, including police and security organizations in general, without any kind of restrictions, so that he may adequately discharge his functions. He will have access to places where human rights violations have been reported. He may also act ex officio;
3. To publicly criticize behavior or actions that are contrary to human rights;
4. To submit an annual report on his activities to the two chambers of Congress;
5. To prepare and to communicate reports on the status of those human rights that, in his opinion, require urgent public attention; and
6. Other duties and powers established by law. Article 280 About the Regulation of his Functions
The functions of the Public Defender will be regulated by law to ensure his efficiency. Departmental or municipal defenders may be appointed. Section II About the Comptroller General of the Republic Article 281 About Its Nature, Its Composition, and Terms
(1) The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is charged with supervising State, departmental, and municipal economic and financial activities in the manner established by this Constitution and the law. It will enjoy functional and administrative autonomy.
(2) The office will consist of a comptroller and a deputy comptroller, who will be Paraguayan citizens, at least 30 years old, who are graduates in law, economics, business administration, or accounting. Each of them will be appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, by an absolute majority, from a list of three candidates proposed, also by absolute majority, by the Senate.
(3) The term of office will be five years, and their term will not coincide with that of the president of the Republic. They may be confirmed in their post for one additional term, following the above procedures. During their tenure, they can be removed only for having committed a crime or for malfeasance in office. Article 282 About Reports and Opinions
In his capacity as the chief administrator of the State, the president of the Republic will send - within f our months into the next year - a report on the implementation of the budget of the previous year. Within the next four months the comptroller will submit his own report and opinion to Congress so that thetwo chambers may consider it. Article 283 About Duties and Powers
The Comptroller General of the Republic has the following duties and powers:
1. To control, monitor, and supervise public property and the assets of the State, of regional or departmental organizations, of municipalities, of the Central Bank or other state-owned or mixed banks, of autonomous, self-supported, or decentralized state-owned companies, and those of stet-owned or mixed companies;
2. To control the implementation of, and prepare the final report on, the National General Budget;
3. To control the implementation of, and the final report on, the budgets of all of the organizations mentioned in Section 1 of this article and to review accounts, funds, or inventories;
4. To supervise the national accounts of multinational companies or agencies in which the State may own a share of capital assets, whether directly or indirectly, in accordance with the provisions of the respective treaties;
5. To request reports on fiscal and property management from any individual or public, mixed, or private company managing State funds or assets or public services, from regional or departmental organizations, and from municipal governments, all of which must make available to him all documents and papers required from him to adequately discharge his duties;
6. To receive sworn statements on assets by public officials, to establish registries for such statements, and to issue opinions on the equivalence between the statement on assets a public official signs upon his installation and the one he signs at the end of his tenure.
7. To report to the courts and to the executive branch on crimes that have come to his attention by reason of his specific activities,, and he will be held liable, on omission or distortion charges, along with those organizations submitted to his control, if these organizations acted deficiently or negligently; and
8. Other duties and powers established by this >Constitution and the law. Article 284 About Immunities, Limitations, and Removal
The comptroller and deputy comptroller will have the same immunities and limitations prescribed for judges. They may be removed only through impeachment proceedings. Section III About the State Central Bank Article 285 About the Nature, Duties, and Powers of the Central Bank
A State Central Bank, which will be a technical organization, is hereby established. It will be exclusively charged with issuing currency and, in accordance with the objectives of the national government' economic policy, will participate with other State technical organizations in formulating monetary, credit, and foreign currency exchange policies. The State Central Bank will be responsible for the implementation and development of these policies and for preserving monetary stability. Article 286 About Prohibitions
The State Central Bank is hereby prohibited from:
1. Issuing loans, either directly or indirect, to finance unbudgeted public expenses, except for:
- Short-term advances to budget tax revenues for the respective year; and
- In case of a national emergency, through a substantiated resolution of the executive branch with the Senate's concurrence;
2. To make any decisions that may establish, either directly or indirectly, different or discriminatory rules or requirements for individuals, institutions, or organizations engaging in operations of a similar nature; and
3. To operate with individuals or organizations outside the national or international financial or monetary system. Article 287 About Its Organization and Functions
(1) The law will regulate the organization and functions of the State Central Bank and, within the limits established by this Constitution.
(2) The State Central Bank will report to the executive branch and to Congress on the implementation of the policies entrusted to it.
Title III About the State of Exception Article 288 About Its Declaration, Causes, Enforcement, and Terms
(1) In case of an armed international conflict, whether formally declared or not, or of a serious internal commotion that imposes an immanent threat to this Constitution or to the regular functioning of the organizations created by it, Congress or the executive branch may declare a state of exception, in part or in all of the national territory, for a maximum of 60 days. In the case the executive branch makes this kind of declaration, Congress will have to approve it or reject it within 48 hours.
(2) The 60-day deadline may be extended by successive periods of 30 days by an absolute majority of the two houses.
(3) During a period of congressional recess, the executive branch may declare a state of exception only once and for no more than 30 days, but it will have to submit its decision to Congress within eight days. Congress, which may approve or reject the declaration, will automatically convene in a special session for the sole purpose of considering the declaration.
(4) A decree or law declaring a state of exception will contain the reasons or causes prompting it, the duration of the state of exception, and the part of the territory affected, as well as the rights that will be restricted.
(5) During the time of a state of exception is in force, the executive branch may order, by decree and on a case-by-case basis, the following measures: The detention of people suspected of participating in these events, their transfer from one place of territory of the Republic to another, as well as prohibitions or restrictions of public meetings or demonstrations.
(6) In all these cases, a suspect will always have the option toleave the country.
(7) The executive branch will immediately inform the Supreme Court of Justice on the status of those detained by virtue of the state of exception and on their place of detention or banishment, in order to make a court inspection feasible.
(8) Those detained by virtue of a state of emergency will be held in healthy, clean quarters, which will be different from those used to house common criminals, or they will be held under house arrest. Banishments will be served in populated, healthy areas.
(9) A state of exception will not disrupt the functioning of the branches of government or the provisions of this Constitution, particularly that concerning habeas corpus.
(10) By an absolute majority vote, Congress may at any time order the lifting of a state of exception if it considers that the causes that prompted it have disappeared.
(11) Within five days of lifting a state of exception, the executive branch will inform Congress on the activities it carried out during the state of exception.
Title IV About Constitutional Reform and Amendments Article 289 About Reforms
(1) This Constitution may be removed only 10 years after its promulgation.
(2) Its reform may be requested by 25 percent of the members of any of the two chambers of Congress, by the president of the Republic, or by 30,000 voters through a signed petition.
(3) By a two-thirds absolute majority vote of its members, the two chambers of Congress may declare the need for constitutional reform.
(4) Once the need for the reform has been declared, the Supreme Electoral Court will call general elections that must not coincide with any other scheduled election within a period of 180 days.
(5) The number of members of the National Constituent Assembly will not exceed the total number of the members of Congress. The causes for their ineligibility or incompatibility will be established by law.
(6) Members of a constituent assembly will enjoy the same immunities established for the members of Congress.
(7) As soon a s the new Constitution is approved by the National Constituent Assembly, it will be considered to have been automatically promulgated. Article 290 About Amendments
(1) This Constitution may be amended three years after it has been promulgated, at the initiative of one-fourth of the members of any of the two chambers of Congress, of the president of the Republic, or of 30,000 voters through a signed petition;
(2) The full text of the amendment will, have to be approved by an absolute majority by the originating chamber. A similar procedure will be followed at the reviewing chamber. If the majority required for its approval is not met in either of the two chambers, it will be considered that the proposed amendmenthas been rejected, and it may not be proposed again within a period of one year.
(3) If the amendment has been approved by the two chambers of Congress, the full text of it will be submitted to the Superior Electoral Court, which, within a period of 180 days will call a referendum. If the outcome of the referendum is in favor of the amendment, it will be considered that it has been approved and promulgated and considered part of the Constitution.
(4) If the amendment repeals any provision of the Constitution, no amendment may again be proposed on the same subject for three years.
(5) The procedures established for the reform of the Constitution, rather than those established for its amendment, will be followed with regard to those provisions affecting the election, composition, term in office, or powers of any of the three branches of government or the provisions of Chapters I, II, III and IV of Title II of Part I. Article 291 About the Powers of the National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly is independent from the branches of government. While it is in session, it will limit its action to reforming the Constitution and will refrain from engaging in any other task. It will not claim for itself the powers of the branches of government, and it will neither replace nor reduce or extend the term in office of incumbent officials.