TITLE VI THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE POWER
CHAPTER I The President of the Republic
The Executive Power is exercised by the President of the Republic and any other officials determined by this Constitution and the laws.
The President of the Republic is the chief of State and of the National Executive.
To be elected President of the Republic a person must be a Venezuelan by birth, over thirty years of age, and a layman.
The election of the President of the Republic shall be by universal and direct vote, in conformity with the law. The candidate who obtains a relative majority of votes shall be proclaimed elected.
No one may be elected President of the Republic who is holding the Presidency at the time of an election or has held it for more than one hundred days in the immediately preceding year, or his relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or second of affinity.
Likewise, no one who is holding the position of Minister, Governor, or Secretary to the Presidency of the Republic on the day of his becoming a candidate or at any time between that date and the election may be elected President of the Republic.
Anyone who has occupied the Presidency of the Republic for a constitutional term or for more than half thereof may not again be President of the Republic or perform that office within the ten years following the termination of his mandate.
The elected candidate shall assume the office of President of the Republic by taking an oath before the Chambers meeting in joint session within the first ten days in which they are to inaugurate their regular sessions for the year in which a constitutional term begins. If for any reason he is unable to take the oath before the Chambers in joint session, he shall do so before the Supreme Court of Justice. Whenever the President-elect does not take office within the period provided for in this article, the outgoing President shall resign his powers before the person called upon to replace him provisionally in case of absolute vacancy, in accordance with the following article, who shall exercise them as Charg� of the Presidency of the Republic, until the President-elect assumes the post.
Whenever there is an absolute vacancy before the President-elect takes office, a new universal and direct election shall be held on the date set by the Chambers in joint session. If the absolute vacancy occurs after the assumption of office, the Chambers shall, within the next thirty days, proceed to elect a new President, by secret vote and in joint session, for the remainder of the constitutional term. In this case the provisions of article 184 shall not apply.
In either case, until a new President is elected and assumes office, the Presidency shall be occupied by the President of Congress; if there is none, by the Vice President of Congress and, in his default, by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Temporary absences of the President of the Republic shall be filled by a Minister designated by the President himself and, in his default, by the person called upon to fill an absolute vacancy in accordance with the preceding article. If the temporary absence is prolonged for more than ninety consecutive days, the Chambers in joint session shall decide whether an absolute vacancy should by considered to exist.
The President, or whoever is acting in his stead, may not leave the national territory without authorization from the Senate or from the Delegated Committee. Nor may do so without such authorization within the six months following the date on which he leaves office.
CHAPTER II Powers of the President of the Republic
The powers and duties of the President of the Republic are:
- To enforce this Constitution and the laws;
- To appoint and remove the Ministers;
- To exercise, as Commander in Chief of the National Armed Forces, the highest-ranking authority over them;
- To fix the size of the National Armed Forces;
- To direct the foreign affairs of the Republic and make and ratify international treaties, conventions, or agreements;
- To declare a state of emergency and order the restriction or suspension of guarantees in the cases provided for in this Constitution;
- To adopt measures necessary for the defense of the Republic, the integrity of its territory, and its sovereignty, in the event of international emergency;
- To enact extraordinary measures in economic or financial matters whenever the public interest so requires and he has been authorized to do so by special law;
- To convoke Congress into extraordinary session;
- To regulate the laws in whole or in part, without altering their spirit, purpose, or sense;
- To order, in case of proven emergency during a recess of the creation and funding of new public services, or the modification or abolition of those in existence, with the authorization of the Delegated Committee;
- To administer the National Public Finances;
- To negotiate national loans;
- To decree credits outside the Budget, with the authorization of the Chambers in joint session, or of the Delegated Committee ;
- To make contracts in the national interest permitted by this Constitution and the laws;
- To appoint, with the authorization of the Senate or of the Delegated Committee of Congress, the Attorney General of the Republic and the heads of permanent diplomatic missions;
- To appoint and remove the Governor of the Federal District and the Federal Territories;
- To appoint and remove, in accordance with the law, those national officials and employees whose appointment is not vested in some other authority;
- To assemble in convention any or all of the Governors of the federal entities for better coordination of the plans and tasks of the public administration;
- To submit to Congress, personally or through one of the Ministers, special reports and messages;
- To grant pardons;
- Any others assigned to him in this Constitution or the laws. The President of the Republic shall exercise in Council of Ministers the powers enumerated in sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15 and those which he is empowered by law to exercise in the same manner.
Acts of the President of the Republic, with the exception of those mentioned in sections 2 and 3 of this article, must be countersigned by the appropriate Minister or Ministers in order to be valid.
Within the first ten days following the installation of Congress in regular sessions, the President of the Republic, personally or through one of the Ministers, shall present each year to the Chambers meeting in joint session a Message in which he shall give an accounting of the political and administrative aspects of his actions during the immediately preceding year. In this Message the President shall set forth the features of the plan for the economic and social development of the Nation.
The Message corresponding to the last year of a constitutional term must be presented within the first five days following the installation of Congress.
The President of the Republic is liable for his acts, in conformity with this Constitution and the laws.
CHAPTER III The Ministers
The Ministers are the direct agents of the President of the Republic, and together comprise the Council of Ministers. The President of the Republic shall preside over meetings of the Council of Ministers, but he may designate a Minister to preside whenever he is unable to attend. In this case, the decisions taken shall not be valid unless they are confirmed by the President of the Republic. An organic law shall determine the manner and organization of the Ministries and their respective competence, and also the organization and functioning of the Council of Ministers.
The President of the Republic may appoint Ministers of State without assigning them a specific department. In addition to participating in the Council of Ministers and advising the President of the Republic on such matters as he entrusts to them, the Ministers of State may take charge of matters assigned to them by law.
To be a Minister a person must be a Venezuelan by birth, over thirty years of age, and a layman.
Ministers are liable for their acts, in conformity with this Constitution and the laws, even when they act under the express orders of the President. Ministers who when present shall be jointly and severally liable for decisions of the Council of Ministers, with the exception of those who have made known their adverse or negative vote.
Each Minister shall present to the Chambers in joint session, within the first ten days of a regular session, a reasoned and adequate report on the actions of his Department during the immediately preceding calendar year and on its plans for the following year. He shall also present an accounting of the funds he has managed. The reports corresponding to the last year of a constitutional term must be presented within the first five days following the installation of Congress.
No pronouncement of the legislative bodies concerning the reports or accounts shall free a Minister from liability for the acts of his Department. In any case, and as long as prescription has not taken effect, they may undertake an investigation and examination of those acts, even if they pertain to previous fiscal periods.
Ministers have the right to voice in the Chambers and in their Committees, and they are obligated to attend them when called upon to report or to answer interpellations.
CHAPTER IV The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic
The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic shall be under the responsibility and direction of the Attorney General of the Republic, with the collaboration of such other officials as the law determines.
The Attorney General of the Republic must have the same qualifications as those required of a Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice, and shall be appointed by the President of the Republic with the authorization of the Senate.
If during a recess of the Chambers an absolute vacancy occurs in the post of Attorney General of the Republic, the President of the Republic shall make a new appointment with the authorization of the Delegated Committee of Congress. Temporary and occasional absences shall be filled in the manner determined by law.
The functions of the Attorney General of the Republic are:
- To represent and defend the patrimonial interests of the Republic judicially or extra judicially;
- To render opinions in the cases and with the effects indicated in the laws;
- To give legal advice to the National Public Administration;
- Any others attributed to him by law.
All legal advisory services of the National Public Administration shall collaborate with the Attorney General of the Republic in the performance of his functions, in the manner determined by law.
The Attorney General of the Republic may attend, with the right to voice, meetings of the Council of Ministers when called upon by the President of the Republic.