Final Provisions

TITLE XII FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 251
The transitory provisions are enacted in a separate text. They have the validity of constitutional principles and are sanctioned by the same formalities as those by which the present Constitution is adopted. Their text shall not be subject to amendment except by the procedure provided in Title X.

Article 252
The constitutional order that has been in effect up to the promulgation of this Constitution is hereby repealed.
Done, signed, and sealed in the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, on the twenty-third day of January of nineteen hundred and sixty-one. 151st year of Independence and 102nd year of the Federation.

TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA


In conformity with the provisions of Article 251 of the Constitution and having called for the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the States of Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia, and having seen the favorable result of the voting, decrees the following

TRANSITORY PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION

First. Until the laws provided for in Chapter IV of Title I of the Constitution are enacted, the present municipal system and organization of the Republic remains in force.

Second. Foreigners included in numerals 2 and 3 of Article 37 who become twenty-five years of age within one year following the date on which this Constitution takes effect may make the statement of desire within that period.

Third. Until a law establishes the special facilities to which article 36 of the Constitution refers, the acquisition of Venezuelan nationality by those who by birth have the nationality of Spain or of a Latin American State shall continue to be governed by the legal provisions row in effect.

Fourth. Until a law establishes the appropriate substantive and procedural rules, the loss of nationality through revocation of naturalization shall be subject to current provisions of law, but an interested party may appeal the administrative decision to the Supreme Court of Justice within a period of six months following the date of publication of the revocation in the Official Gazette.
Fifth. The protection of personal liberty, until a special law is enacted to govern it in conformity with the provisions of article 49 of the Constitution, shall be done in accordance with the following rules:

Any person who becomes subject to deprivation or restriction of his liberty, in violation of constitutional guarantees, has the right to ask the Judge of First Instance in Criminal Matters who has jurisdiction at the place where the action which has given rise to the request was taken or where the aggrieved person is to be found, to issue a writ of habeas corpus.

When the request, which may be made by any person, is received, the Judge shall immediately order the official in whose custody the aggrieved person is held to report within twenty-hours hours as to the grounds for deprivation or restriction of liberty, and shall initiate a summary investigation.

The Judge shall decide, within a period of not more than ninety- six hours after the request was submitted, on the immediate release of the aggrieved or the cessation of the restrictions imposed, if he finds that the legal formalities for deprivation or restriction of liberty were not met. The judge may subject this decision to the granting of bail or prohibition of departure from the country by the aggrieved person, for a period of not more than thirty days, if he considers this necessary.

The decision issued by the Judge of First Instance shall be referred to the Superior Court, to which the case must be sent on the same or the following day. This referral shall not prevent the immediate execution of the decision. The Superior Court shall render its decision within seventy-two hours following the date of receipt of the case.

Sixth. Until ordinary legislation fixes the time limits and periods to which the last paragraph of numeral 1 of article 60 of the Constitution refers, police authorities who have employed preventive detention measures must place the accused together with the action that has been taken, at the disposition of the appropriate Court within a time limit of not more than eight days, for purposes of summary proceedings. The examining Court must decide, with respect to the detention, within a time limit of ninety-six hours, except in serious and complex cases which require a longer time, which in no case shall exceed eight days. Only police authorities who by law are auxiliary officials of the Administration of Justice are empowered to take the measures provided for in article 60 of the Constitution.

Seventh. The measures of banishment from the country adopted between January 23, 1958, and July 31, 1960, shall remain in effect until they are revoked by the Executive Power or by decision of the Chambers in joint session, but they may not be prolonged beyond the present constitutional term.
Persons subjected to deprivation or restriction of liberty for reasons of public order must be set free or submitted to the Courts of the Republic within a period of two months following the proclamation of the Constitution.

Eighth. The provisions of the sole paragraph of article 148 of the Constitution are declared applicable to the present President of the Republic as soon as his term has expired and, as soon as this Provision takes effect, to the citizen who constitutionally occupied the Presidency of the Republic for the 1936-1941 term and to the citizen who was elected President of the Republic by popular vote for the constitutional term which began in 1948.

Ninth. Senators and Deputies who an the date of promulgation of the Constitution are holding public offices not excepted in articles 123 and 141 of the Constitution may rejoin their respective Chambers during the course of the next regular session.
Tenth. Until the law provides therefore, persons who have failed to comply with the provisions of article 160 of the Constitution shall be subject to the penalty provided in article 239 of the Penal Code .

If an official of the public administration or of an autonomous institute is concerned, he shall also be removed from office.
Eleventh. Bills relating to international treaties and conventions and those concerning the system of taxation which on the date of promulgation of this Constitution are under consideration in the Chambers may continue to be discussed even if the former were initiated in the Chamber of Deputies and the latter in the Senate.
Twelfth. The Chambers, if are meeting on the date of promulgation of the Constitution, or in subsequent regular or special session, shall, before recessing, conduct the election in joint session of the Delegated Committee provided for in article 175. Before conducting the election, the Chambers in joint session shall enact the pertinent regulations.
Thirteenth. Whenever the law requires the authorization, approval, or sanction of the National Congress for the validity of an act, the decision shall be taken by the Chambers in joint session, unless from the very nature of the act it appears that the procedure for the enactment of laws should be followed.

Fourteenth. Judges shall continue to hold office for the term established in the legislation in force.

However, the Judicial Council, without prejudice to its other legal powers, may, within the year following the promulgation of the Constitution, remove, following summary investigation, those who have been guilty of any serious act affecting the dignity or decorum of the judiciary or who have shown manifest incapacity or deficiency in carrying out their functions.
The designation of a new judge and his alternates shall be made according to law.
Fifteenth. The present sitting Members of the Federal Courts and the Court of Cassation shall comprise the Supreme Court of Justice for the remainder of the present constitutional term. The Court shall be installed within thirty days after the Constitution takes effect, and shall elect a President and two Vice Presidents from among its members.

Until the Organic Law of the Supreme Court of Justice is enacted, the following provisions shall govern: The Court shall function in three autonomous Divisions, known as the Political- Administrative Division, the Division of Civil, Commercial, and Labor Cassation, and the Division of Penal Cassation. The first of these Divisions shall consist of the sitting Members of the present Federal Court and shall have the powers conferred on that body by current legislation, and those established by numerals 2 and 4 to 9 of article 215 of the Constitution; the other two Divisions shall be composed of the sitting Members of the respective Divisions of the present Court of Cassation and shall have the powers conferred on those bodies by current law. The full Court shall have powers 1 and 3 of article 215 of the Constitution.
The present alternates of the Federal Court shall fill absolute vacancies of Magistrates of the Political-Administrative Division; and those of the Court of Cassation, such vacancies of the Magistrates of the Cassation Divisions.

The installation of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be governed, insofar as they are applicable, by the provisions of the Organic law of the Court of Cassation. Action taken by the full Court and by the Political-Administrative Division shall be governed, insofar as it is applicable, by the Organic Law of the Federal Court, and that of the Cassation Divisions, by the Organic Law of the Court of Cassation.
When the Magistrates are elected for the next constitutional term, the Chambers shall indicate those who are to serve nine, six, and three years respectively, for the purposes of article 214 of the Constitution.

The full Court shall settle any questions that may arise concerning the application of the system called for in this provision, and shall also settle those that may arise concerning the powers of the Prosecutor General of the Republic and of the Attorney General of the Republic.

Sixteenth. The citizen elected to the post of Attorney of the Nation for the present constitutional term shall continue to perform, with the title Prosecutor General of the Republic, the functions conferred on the Public Ministry by the Constitution until the end of that term. He shall likewise perform the functions conferred by the Constitution on the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic until the President of the Republic makes the appointment provided for in article 201 of the Constitution. In the latter case, both officials shall perform the functions respectively conferred on them by the Constitution, in accordance with the laws in force, insofar as they are applicable according to the individual nature of each institution, until the appropriate organic laws are promulgated .

Seventeenth. The citizen elected to the post of Comptroller of the Nation for the present constitutional term shall continue to perform, with the title Comptroller General of the Republic, the functions conferred by the Constitution on the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic.

Until an organic law provides therefor, the citizen elected to the post of Assistant Comptroller of the Nation for the present constitutional term shall continue to perform, with the title Assistant Comptroller of the Republic, the functions assigned to him by law. Temporary or occasional absences of the Assistant Comptroller shall be filled by an official from the Office of the Comptroller named for the purpose by the Comptroller General of the Republic. In case of absolute vacancy, the Chambers in joint session or the Delegated Committee shall elect a person to replace him.

Eighteenth. Until an organic law fixes the time for the presentation of the draft Budget Law, it shall be presented annually within the first fifteen days of the regular sessions of the Chamber.

Nineteenth. The next constitutional term shall commence on March 2, 1964. On that date the Chambers shall be installed. The inauguration of the President of the Republic shall be conducted according to article 186 of the Constitution. The election of the Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be held within the first thirty days after the beginning of the constitutional term.

The terms of the present deputies to the Legislative Assemblies and members of the Municipal Councils shall end on January 1, 1964, unless a law provides for their renewal at an earlier date.
Twentieth. The property referred to in Decree No. 28 of February 6, 1958, of the Governing Junta reverts to the national patrimony .
This measure includes all property of the person to whom the Decree mentioned refers and that unlawfully held by persons who have been declared intermediaries, in accordance with that Decree, before the promulgation of the Constitution.

The Attorney General of the Republic shall take the measures necessary for carrying out this provision, and the inventories he prepares shall serve as title of ownership by the State of such property, for all legal purposes.

Twenty-first. There shall also revert to the national patrimony, to the amount determined by the Investigating Committee provided for in the law against unlawful Enrichment by Public Officials or Employees, the property belonging to persons summoned before it for investigation up to the date of promulgation of the Constitution and by reason of acts or occurrences prior to January 23, 1958.
In its decision, which shall have the character of a permanent final judgment, the Investigating Committee shall determine what property must revert to the national patrimony in accordance with this provision and what amounts shall remain owing to the National Exchequer from those who have unlawfully enriched themselves to an amount greater than the value of the property restored to the national patrimony. Interested parties may appear before the Supreme Court of Justice, in the Political-Administrative Division, within thirty consecutive days after publication of the decision, to demonstrate the partial or complete lawfulness of their enrichment. The Court shall examine and decide on the appeal in accordance with the procedure established in article 25 of the Organic Law of the Federal Court.

The Committee shall decide the cases currently being investigated in accordance with this provision within a period of three months counting from the date on which the Constitution takes effect. This period may be extended, in each case, by the Supreme Court of Justice, in its Political-Administrative Division, upon grounded application by the Investigating Committee.

The Attorney General of the Republic may also appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice whenever he considers that a decision of the Investigating Committee is contrary to the interests of the Republic .

Whenever by virtue of a decision of the Investigating Committee the suspension of all or any of the preventive measures taken on property of a person under investigation is in order, this suspension may not be carried out except in the event that the Attorney General of the Republic has not appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice within the period provided for in this provision.
If the Supreme Court of Justice decides that there has been no unlawful enrichment or that its amount is less than that estimated by the Investigating Committee, it shall fix the amount to be returned to the appellant to the extent that he was not unlawfully enriched and shall so inform the National Executive in order that it may determine the manner and time of payment, in accordance with article 16 of the Organic Law of the National Finances. However, the Court may order that such payment be made, wholly or in part, from property which belonged to the person investigated, provided that its restitution is not contrary to the public or social interest.

In each case the Committee shall also decide on the claims of third parties asserting rights in rem to property covered by a decision and may order the cumulation of actions pending in the Courts if it deems this advisable. Such third parties may also appeal within thirty consecutive days to the Supreme Court of Justice, in its Political-Administrative Division, to validate their rights, and that body shall examine the claims pursuant to the article 25 cited above. If the claims of a third party are ruled in order, the National Executive may provide for their payment in the manner and time it shall specify or may authorize the delivery or auction of the property claimed, without prejudice to the terms of this provision. The Committee may declare simulated any transfers of property made by investigated persons after December 1, 1957.
Property which was acquired by investigated persons before taking the offices they held or before committing the acts which the measures are based may be included in the decision of the Investigating Committee only if the other property is not sufficient to cover the amount of the unlawful enrichment, except as established in this provision with respect to property of public or social interest.

The circumstance that judicial action has been taken against some of the persons included under this provision shall not prevent its application. Suits initiated in application of the provisions of the Law against Unlawful Enrichment of Public Official or employees, against persons included under the present transitory provision, shall be suspended and the cases shall be transmitted to the Investigating Committee. The application of this provision does not prevent the taking of criminal action for which there may be grounds according to law.
For purposes of carrying out the measures regulated herein, the rule contained in article 44 of the Constitution shall not apply, and both the Investigating Committee and the Supreme Court shall be subject only to the procedural provisions indicated here.
Twenty-second. Article 44 and the last part of article 42 of the Law against the Unlawful Enrichment of Public Officials and Employees shall be applicable to the persons to whom the eighteenth provision refers and to those who have been unlawfully enriched according to decisions of the Investigating Committee or the Supreme Court of Justice.

Twenty-third. The existing juridical system shall remain in effect unless it is amended or repealed by the competent organs of the Public Power, or is repealed expressly or by implication by the Constitution.

Done, signed, and sealed in the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, on the twenty-third day of January of nineteen hundred sixty-one. -151st year of Independence and 102nd War of the Federation.

THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA

Having requested the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the States: Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia, and having seen the favorable results of the voting, decrees the following

AMENDMENT 1 OF THE CONSITUTION

Article 1
An amendment is hereby introduced in the Constitution, which shall bear the number 1 and be worded as follows:

"No person who has been found guilty by the Ordinary Courts and given a final sentence of confinement or imprisonment for a period of over three years for crimes committed in the exercise of public office or as a consequence of said person's public functions, may be elected President of the Republic, Senator or Deputy to the Congress, or Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice.

As agreed by the competent organisms, the only recourse shall be appealed before the Supreme Court of Justice, en banc, brought by any qualified voter. The Court shall make its decision within the ten days following receipt of the request. There shall be only one hearing on the appeal."

Article 2
The text of the Constitution, followed by the approved Amendment, shall be printed in its entirety and a reference to the number and date of this amendment shall appear at the end of articles 149, 152, 182, and 213 in the body of the text of the Constitution.

Done, signed, and sealed at the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, on the ninth day of May of nineteen hundred sixty-three. 164rd year of Independence and 115th year of the Federation.

THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA

Having requested the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the States: Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia, and having seen the favorable results of the voting, decrees the following

AMENDMENT 2 OF THE CONSTITUTION

Article 1
For elections of Members of Municipal Councils, a special electoral system may be adopted that is different from that governing elections of Senators, Deputies, and Members of the Legislative Assemblies.

For elections of the latter, a special system may also be decided upon that is similar to or different from that stipulated for elections of municipal counselors.

Article 2
Retirement and pension benefits shall be regulated by an Organic Law to which all public officials and employees in the service of the central or decentralized administration of the Republic, the States, or the Municipalities shall be subject. More than one retirement or pension benefit may be received only in cases expressly stipulated in that Law.

Article 3
In the first year of each constitutional term, Regular Sessions of the Chambers shall begin, without the need for prior convocation, on January 23 or the earliest possible date thereafter .

Article 4
The Chambers in joint session shall designate in each constitutional term a legislative committee composed of twenty-three (23) members, who with their respective alternates shall be elected in such a manner as to reflect as far as possible the political composition of the Congress of the Republic. The Rules of Procedure shall establish the procedures and other requirements that shall govern the discussion of bills.

Article 5
The Chambers in joint session, at a meeting expressly convoked for that purpose at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance, may authorize the Legislative Committee to discuss and approve individually determined bills, when agreed to by two thirds of the members present. Once each bill has been approved by the Legislative Committee, the Committee shall send it to the President of the Congress, who shall order the text distributed among the members of both Chambers and shall convoke them to a joint session, after fifteen (15) days have passed since it was received.

The Chambers, meeting in joint session, in accordance with the Notice of Convocation, shall approve or reject any text submitted to them, and may introduce any amendments they deem desirable. Once a Bill has been approved, with or without amendments, the President shall declare it passed, and the subsequent procedures stipulated for the formation of Laws shall be carried out.

Article 6
The Chambers may meet and function with whatever number of their members the Rules of Procedure may determine, but in no case fewer than one third of their members. To take a vote, an absolute majority of the Members of the Chambers must be present.

Article 7
During the first year of each constitutional term, the National Executive shall present the general outlines of the plan for the social and economic development of the country to the Chambers meeting in joint session for approval. Such guidelines shall comply with the requirements stipulated in the pertinent Organic Law.

Article 8
Transitory provisions. In the 1979-1984 constitutional term, the length of the term of the President of the Republic and of the Senators and Deputies shall be shortened by the number of days resulting from the application of article 3. Likewise, for the purposes set forth in article 185 of the Constitution, the period shall be reduced by the number of days resulting from the application of the above mentioned provision.

Article 9
Let the Constitution followed by the approved amendment be printed in its entirety and let footnotes to articles 113, 122, 136, 139, 154, 156, 166, 167, 185, 227 and 231 of the text of the Constitution show the number and date of this amendment. In addition, let the transitory provisions of the Constitution that have not yet been implemented and article 8 of this amendment be published.

Done, signed, and sealed at the Federal Legislative Palace in Caracas on the eighteenth day of March of nineteen hundred eighty-three. 172nd year of Independence and 124th year of the Federation.