TITLE VII CONCERNING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
CHAPTER 1 CONCERNING THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLICArticle 188
The President of the Republic symbolizes national unity and, on taking the oath of office to abide by the Constitution and the laws, he/she pledges to guarantee the rights and freedoms of all Colombians.Article 189
It is the responsibility of the President of the Republic, as the chief of state, head of the government, and supreme administrative authority to do the following:
- Appoint and dismiss freely Cabinet ministers and directors of administrative departments.
- Manage international relations; appoint the members of the diplomatic and consular corps; receive the corresponding foreign officials; and negotiate international treaties or agreements with other states and international bodies to be submitted for the approval of the Congress.
- Direct the public force and its disposition in his/her quality of supreme commander of the armed forces of the Republic.
- Preserve public order throughout the territory and restore it where it has been disturbed.
- Direct military operations when he/she deems it appropriate.
- Provide for the external security of the Republic, defend the independence and honor of the nation and the inviolability of its territory; declare war with the approval of the Senate or without such authorization to repel foreign aggression; and agree to and ratify peace treaties, regarding all of which matters the President will give an immediate account to the Congress.
- Authorize, during a recess of the Senate and with the prior opinion of the Council of State, the transit of foreign troops across the territory of the Republic.
- Convene and adjourn the sessions of the Congress in each legislative term.
- Approve the laws.
- Promulgate the laws, obey them, and see to their strict compliance.
- Exercise the power to regulate through the issuing of decrees, resolutions, and orders necessary for the execution of the laws.
- Present a report to the Congress at the beginning of each legislative term regarding the activities of the administration, regarding the execution of the plans and programs of economic and social development, and regarding the bills which the government proposes to move forward during the new legislative term.
- Appoint the presidents, directors, or managers of national public institutions and individuals who occupy national office, where such positions are not to be filled through competitive examinations or are not the responsibility of other officials or bodies, according to the Constitution or the law.
- Create, merge, or dissolve, according to the law, positions required by the central administration, define their special functions, and determine their benefits and emoluments. The government may not create, at Treasury expense, obligations which would exceed the total amount allocated for the respective service in the initial appropriations
- Eliminate or merge national administrative entities or organs in accordance with the law.
- Modify the structure of the Ministries, administrative departments, and other national administrative entities or organs, according to the principles and general regulations defined by the law.
- Assign work according to its nature among Ministries, administrative departments, and public institutions.
- Grant permission to national public employees who may request it to accept, on a temporary basis, responsibilities or benefits from foreign governments.
- Confer ranks to the members of the public force and submit for the approval of the Senate those that fall under Article 173.
- Supervise the strict collection and administration of public revenues and credits and decree their investment in accordance with the laws.
- Inspect and supervise education in accordance with the law.
- Inspect and supervise the provision of public services.
- Make contracts falling under his/her jurisdiction in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
- Effect, in accordance with the law, the inspection, supervision and control of individuals who undertake financial, stock market, insurance, and any other activities connected with the management, use, or investment of resources collected from the public and similarly, to supervise such investment by cooperative entities and commercial companies.
- Organize public credit; determine the national debt and arrange for its servicing; amend the customs duties, tariffs, and other provisions concerning customs; regulate foreign trade; and to intervene in financial, stock exchange, insurance, and any other activities connected with the management, use, and investment of resources originating from the saving of third parties, in accordance with the law.
- Inspect and supervise institutions of public utility so that their revenues may be protected and be properly applied and so that they function fundamentally in accordance with the wishes of the founders.
- Grant temporary patents to inventors of useful improvements in accordance with the law.
- Issue naturalization certificates, in accordance with the law.
The President of the Republic will be elected for a period of four years by one-half plus one of the ballots which, by secret and direct ballot, the citizens will cast on the date and following the procedures determined by the law. If no candidate should secure the said majority, a runoff election will be held three weeks later when only those two candidates who received the most votes in the first round of balloting will participate. The candidate with the larger number of votes will be declared President.
In the case of the death or permanent physical incapacity of either of the two candidates receiving the majority of votes, his/her party or political movement may enter a new candidate for the runoff election. If the party or movement fails to do so or if the vacancy stems from another reason, that candidate will be replaced by the third place winner in the first round and so on in successive and descending order. Should the vacancy occur less than two weeks before the second round of balloting, the latter will be postponed by 15 days.Article 191
In order to be President of the Republic, an individual must be Colombian by birth, a citizen in good standing, and over 30 years of age.Article 192
The President of the Republic will assume his office before the Congress and will take the following oath "I swear to God and promise to the people to faithfully execute the Constitution and the laws of Colombia." If for any reason the President should be unable to assume his/her office before the Congress, he/she will do so before the Supreme Court of Justice or, failing that, before two witnesses.Article 193
The Senate will have the power to grant approval to the President of the Republic to be temporarily relieved of his/her duties. On account of sickness, the President of the Republic may be relieved of his/ her duties for the necessary period, after giving notice to the Senate or, should the latter be in recess, to the Supreme Court of Justice.Article 194
A permanent vacancy in the office of the President of the Republic occurs at his/her death, his/her accepted resignation, his/her removal from office decreed as a judgment, and finally, permanent physical incapacity and abandonment of duties, these last two being declared by the Senate.
A temporary vacancy in the office occurs following permission for leave of absence or sickness, in accordance with the previous article, or suspension in the President's exercise of responsibility as decreed by the Senate upon public admission by the President of a charge against the President in the cases anticipated in paragraph No. 1, Article 175.Article 195
The acting chief executive will have the same privileges and the same powers as the President whom he/she replaces.Article 196
The President of the Republic, or whoever replaces him/her, may not travel abroad during the exercise of his/her office without prior notification to the Senate or, should the latter be in recess, the Supreme Court of Justice. A violation of this provision implies abandonment of his/her office.
The President of the Republic, or whichever official has occupied the presidency, is not he entitled to leave the country during the year following the date when he/she ceased exercising his/her functions without the prior permission of the Senate. When the President of the Republic travels abroad as part of his/her duties, the appropriate minister, according to the order of legal precedence, will exercise under his/her own responsibility the constitutional functions that the President should delegate to him/her, as well as those which pertain to the minister. The delegated minister will belong to the same party or political movement as the President.Article 197
The citizen who under any tide whatever may have held the presidency at an earlier time may not be elected President of the Republic. This prohibition does not cover the Vice President when the latter has exercised the presidential functions for less than three months, in continuous or discontinuous form, during the four-year term. Nor can the individual who may be subject to any of the reasons of disqualification listed in paragraphs Nos. 1, 4, and 7 of Article 179 be elected President of the Republic; neither can the citizen who, a year before the election, may have held any of the following positions:
- Judge of the Supreme Court of Justice or of the Constitutional Court,
- Councilor of State,
- or member of the National Electoral Council or the Superior Council of the Judicature,
- Cabinet ministers,
- National Attorney General,
- Comptroller General of the Republic,
- General Prosecutor,
- National Registrar of Civil Status,
- Director of an Administrative Department,
- Departmental Governor,
- or Senior Mayor of Santa Fe de Bogot
The President of the Republic or whoever replaces him/her is responsible for his/her acts of commission or omission that violate the Constitution or the laws.Article 199
The President of the Republic, during the period for which he/she is elected or whoever is entrusted with the presidency, may not be prosecuted or tried for crimes except following all indictment by the Chamber of Representatives and when the Senate has declared that there are grounds for a case.
CHAPTER 2 CONCERNING THE GOVERNMENTArticle 200
It is the duty of the government to do the following in conjunction with the Congress:
- Help draft the laws, present bills through ministers, exercise the right of objecting to them, and approve them in accordance with the Constitution.
- Convoke the Congress to special sessions.
- resent the national development and public investment plan, in accordance with the provisions in Article 150.
- end the budget bill of revenues and expenditures to the Chamber of Representatives.
- Make reports to the chambers as requested on unclassified matters.
- Effectively support the chambers when the latter request it, placing at their disposal the public force if necessary.
It is the duty of the government to do the following in conjunction with the judiciary branch:
- end the necessary assistance to the judicial officials to make their decisions effective, in accordance with the laws.
- rant pardons, reprieves, or amnesties for political crimes, in accordance with the law, and inform Congress about the exercise of this power. In no case may these exoneration involve the responsibility which the grantees of the exoneration may have private parties.
CHAPTER 3 CONCERNING THE VICE PRESIDENTArticle 202
The Vice President of the Republic will be elected by popular vote on the same day and in the same manner as the President of the Republic.
The candidates for the runoff election, if there should be one, will in each case be those who participated in the general election.
The Vice President will hold office for the same period as the President and will replace the latter in case of temporary or permanent presidential vacancy, even if such a vacancy should occur before the President assumes office.
In case of a temporary vacancy in the position of President of the Republic, it will be sufficient that the Vice President should take possession of his/her position as soon as possible so that he/she may exercise it whenever necessary.
In case of a permanent vacancy in the position of the President of the Republic, the Vice President will assume office until the end of the term.
The President of the Republic may entrust the Vice President with missions or special duties and assign to him/her any responsibility of the executive branch. The Vice President may not assume the functions of Minister-Delegate.Article 203
When there is a vacancy in the position of Vice President at a time when the latter must assume the Presidency, the former office will be assumed by a minister in the order of precedence established by law. The individual who, in accordance with this article, replaces the President will belong to the same party or movement and will exercise the Presidency until such time as the Congress, in its own right and within the 30 days following the date when the presidential vacancy occurs, elects the Vice President who will assume the Presidency of the Republic.Article 204
In order to be elected Vice President, the latter must possess the same qualifications required for President of the Republic. The Vice President may not be elected President of the Republic or Vice President for the immediately subsequent them.Article 205
In case of a permanent vacancy in the position of Vice President, the Congress will meet at its own behest or on convocation by the President of the Republic, in order to elect the person who will fill the office for the rest of the term.
A permanent vacancy in the position of Vice President is created by his/her death, his/her accepted resignation, or permanent physical disability as recognized by the Congress.
CHAPTER 4 CONCERNING THE MINISTERS AND DIRECTORS
OF ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENTSArticle 206
The number, designation, and order of precedence of the Ministries and administrative departments will be determined by law.Article 207
In order to be a minister or director of an administrative department, the same qualifications are required as for a representative in the chamber.Article 208
The ministers and directors of administrative departments are the heads of public administration in their respective offices. Under the direction of the President of the Republic, it is their responsibility to formulate policies pertaining to their office, direct the administrative operations, and execute the law.
The ministers, in conjunction with the Congress, are spokesmen of the government, present government bills to the chambers, respond to the requests that the chambers make to them, and take part in debates directly or through deputy ministers.
The ministers and directors of administrative departments will present to the Congress, within the first 15 days of each legislative term, a report on the state of affairs assigned to their Ministry or administrative department and on the reforms that they consider appropriate.
The chambers may request the attendance of the ministers, the permanent committees, the deputy ministers, directors of administrative departments, the manager of the Bank of the Republic, the presidents, directors, or managers of the decentralized entities at the national level, and that of other officials of the executive branch of government.
CHAPTER 5 CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONArticle 209
The administrative function must serve the general interest and has as its basis the principles of equality, morality, efficiency, economy, speed, impartiality, and publicity through the decentralization, delegation, and de concentration of functions. The administrative authorities must coordinate their actions for the appropriate fulfillment of the purposes of ale state. The public administration, at all levels, will have an internal control that will be exercised within the limits stipulated by the law.Article 210
The entities of the decentralized national services may only be created by law or through the latter's authorization, based on the principles that guide administrative activity. Individuals may carry out administrative functions under the conditions stipulated by the law. The law will establish the legal regime of the decentralized entities and the responsibilities of their chairmen, directors, or managers.Article 211
The law will stipulate the functions which the President of the Republic may delegate to the ministers, directors of administrative departments legal representatives of decentralized entities, superintendents, governors, mayors, and agencies of the state which the same law determines.
Similarly, it will determine the conditions under which the administrative authorities may delegate responsibility to their subsidiaries or other authorities. The delegation exempts the delegates from responsibility, which falls exclusively on the one to whom the authority is delegated and whose actions or decisions may always be amended or revoked by the delegate, who would then re assume the consequent responsibility.
The law will establish what recourse is available against the actions of those holding delegated authority.
CHAPTER 6 CONCERNING THE STATES OF EXCEPTIONArticle 212
The President of the Republic, with the signature of all the ministers, may declare a state of foreign war. Upon such a declaration, the government will have the powers strictly necessary to repel the aggression, defend the country's sovereignty, meet the requirements of the war, and bring about the restoration of normal conditions.
The declaration of a state of foreign war may he made only when the Senate has approved the declaration of war, except when in the judgment of the President, it was necessary to repel the aggression forthwith. While the state of war continues, the Congress continues to enjoy all its constitutional and legal powers and the government will report to it, giving reasons periodically for the decrees that it has issued and the evolution of events.
The legislative decrees issued by the government suspend laws incompatible with the state of war, remain in force during the time which the decrees themselves stipulate, and are no longer in effect as soon as normal conditions are declared to have been restored. At any time, the Congress may amend or repeal the decrees through a favorable vote of two-thirds of the members of each chamber.Article 213
In the case of a serious disruption of public order imminently threatening institutional stability, the security of the state, or the peaceful coexistence of the citizenry, and which cannot be resolved by the use of the ordinary powers of the police authorities, the President of the Republic, with the approval of all the ministers, may declare a state of internal disturbance throughout the Republic or part of it for a period no longer than 90 days, extendable for two similar periods, the second of which requires the prior and favorable vote of the Senate of the Republic.
Upon such a declaration, the government will have the powers strictly necessary to deal with the causes of the disruption and check the spread of its effects.
The legislative decrees that the government issues suspend the laws incompatible with the state of disturbance and are no longer in effect as soon as public order is declared to have been restored. The government may extend its application for a period of up to 90 more days. Within the three days subsequent to the declaration or extension of the state of disturbance, the Congress will meet at its own behest, with all its constitutional and legal powers.
The President will transmit to it an immediate report concerning the reason, motivating the said declaration. In no case may civilians be questioned or tried by martial law.Article 214
The states of exception referred to in the previous articles will be subject to the following provisions:
- The legislative decrees must carry the signature of the President of the Republic and all his/her ministers and may refer only to matters that have a direct and specific connection with the situation which the declaration of the state of exception has set out.
- Neither human rights nor fundamental freedoms may be suspended. In all cases, the rules of international humanitarian law will be observed. A statutory law will regulate the powers of the government during the states of exception and will establish the legal controls and a guarantees to protect rights, in accordance with international treaties. The measures which are adopted must be proportionate to the gravity of the events.
- The normal functioning of the branches of government or state organs will not be interrupted.
- As soon as the foreign war or the causes that gave rise to the state of internal disturbance have ceased, the government will declare public order to be restored and will lift the state of exception.
- The President and the ministers are responsible when they declare states of exception without the occurrence of a foreign war or internal disturbance, and they are also responsible, as are other officials, for any abuse that they may commit in the exercise of the powers to which the earlier articles refer.
- The government will send to the Constitutional Court on the day following their promulgation the legislative decrees issued under the powers mentioned in the above articles so that the Court may decide definitively on their constitutionality. Should the government not comply with the duty to transmit the decrees, the Constitutional Court will automatically and immediately take cognizance of them.
When events different from those provided in Articles 212 and 213 occur that disrupt or threaten to disrupt in serious or imminent manner the economic, social, or ecological order of the country or which constitute a grave public calamity, the President, with the signature of all the ministers, may declare a state of emergency for periods of up to 30 days in each case, which, in all, may not exceed 90 days in a calendar year.
By means of such a declaration, which must be justified, the President may, with the signature of all the ministers, issue decrees having the force of law, directed exclusively to checking the crisis and halting the extension of its effects.
These decrees may refer to matters that have a direct and specific connection to the state of emergency and may, in a provisional manner, establish new taxes or amend existing ones. In these last cases, the measures will cease to he effective at the end of the subsequent fiscal year, except when the Congress, during the subsequent year, gives them a permanent character. In the decree declaring the suite of emergency, the government will stipulate the deadline within which it would use its extraordinary powers in situations referred to in this article and will convene the Congress if the latter should not be meeting for the 10 days following the expiration of the said deadline.
The Congress will examine for a period of up to 30 days, extend able by agreement of the two chambers, the report with the explanations presented to it by the government on the causes justifying the state of emergency and the measures adopted and will issue a statement on the necessity and appropriateness of it.
During the year subsequent to the declaration of emergency, the Congress may repeal, amend, or add to the decrees to which this article refers in areas which ordinarily fall under the government's jurisdiction. In connection with those which fall under its own jurisdiction, the Congress may exercise said powers at all times.
If it is not convened, the Congress will meet at its own behest under the conditions and for the purposes provided in this article. The President of the Republic and the ministers are responsible when they declare a state of emergency without there being present any of the circumstances provided in the first clause and are also responsible for any abuse committed in the exercise of the powers which the Constitution assigns to the government during an emergency.
The government may not infringe on the social rights of workers through the decrees mentioned in this article.
The government will send to the Constitutional Court on the day following their promulgation the legislative decrees issued under the powers mentioned in this article so that the Court may determine their constitutionality. Should the government fail to fulfill its obligation to transmit them, the Constitutional Court will automatically and immediately take cognizance of same.
CHAPTER 7 CONCERNING THE PUBLIC FORCEArticle 216
The public force will consist of the armed forces and the national police exclusively. All Colombian citizens are obligated to take up arms when public need mandates it in order to defend national independence and the public institutions. The law will determine the conditions which at all times qualify in individual for exemption from military service and the benefits for service in them.Article 217
The nation will maintain for its defense permanent military forces made up of the army, navy, and air force. The armed forces will have as their primary purpose the defense of the sovereignty, independence, and integrity of the national territory and of the constitutional order.
The law will determine the system of replacements in the armed forces as well as the promotions, rights, and obligations of its members and the special career benefits and disciplinary regime that pertain to them.Article 218
The law will determine the organization of the police corps. The national police is a permanent armed body of a civilian nature, upheld by the Nation, and whose primary purpose is the maintenance of the conditions necessary for the exercise of public rights and freedoms and to ensure that the inhabitants of Colombia may live together in peace.
The law will determine the career benefits and disciplinary regime that pertain to it.Article 219
The public force is not deliberative. It may not assemble except by order of the legitimate authority nor direct petitions except on matters connected with the service and morale of the respective corps and in accordance with the law. The members of the public force may not exercise their right to vote while they are on active service nor take part in activities or debates of parties or political movements.Article 220
The members of the public force may not be deprived of their ranks, awards, or pensions except in the cases and in the manner determined by the law.Article 221
Regarding the crimes committed by the members of the public force while in active service, and in connection with their service, they will appear before martial courts or military tribunals, in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Military Code.Article 222
The law will determine the system of professional, cultural, and social development of the members of the public force. During their training, the members will he taught the fundamentals of democracy and human rights.Article 223
The government alone may make available and manufacture weapons, war munitions, and explosives. No one may own them nor bear arms without permission from the competent authority. Notwithstanding, a permit will not avail to allow a person to bear arms at political rallies, elections or public sessions or assemblies, whether that person is attending or directing such a meeting.
The members of the national security organs and other official armed bodies of a permanent character, created or authorized by the law, may bear arms under the control of the government, in accordance with the principles and procedures that the former stipulates.
CHAPTER 8 CONCERNING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSArticle 224
In order to be valid, treaties must be approved by the Congress. However, the President of the Republic may give temporary effect to provisional treaties of an economic or commercial nature negotiated through international organizations.
In such a case, as soon as a treaty enters into force provisionally, it must be sent to the Congress for approval. If the Congress does not approve the treaty, its application will be suspended.Article 225
The Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations, whose membership will be determined by law, is a consultative body of the President of the Republic.Article 226
The state will promote the internationalization of political, economic, social and ecological relations on the basis of fairness, reciprocity, and the national interest.Article 227
The state will promote economic, social, and political integration with other nations and especially with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean by means of treaties which on the basis of fairness, equality, and reciprocity create supranational organizations, which ultimately can create a Latin American community of nations. The law may establish direct elections for the formation of the Andean Parliament and the Latin American Parliament.