Government of the Dominican Republic
The Constitution of the Dominican Republic says that the country is a presidential democratic republic. It is a republic because the chief of State is a president, and not a king, queen or emperor. It is presidential because the president is also the head of government and there is not a prime minister as in other countries. It is democratic because the president, vice-president and the members of Congress are elected by the people.
The Constitution also says that there are three branches of government with separation of powers. They are the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The three branches are independent from each other.
The executive branch is the part of the government that enforces the law. The people elects a President (and a Vice-President) who is the leader of the executive branch, as well as the leader of the Armed Forces. The President decides whether or not the bills that the Legislative branch passes will become laws. He may also make "decrees" to govern the country and to name persons in different positions. The President is in charge of many departments that control all of the different parts of the government. These departments are called Secretaries of State because they help the President to govern the country. For example, the Secretary of State of Agriculture takes care of the agriculture of the country. The President may serve two 4-year terms, making 8 years in all.
The legislative branch is the part of the government that makes laws. The legislative branch is made up of Congress, which is located in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The Congress is divided into two groups or "chambers".
One group is the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados). The Chamber of Deputies is made up of Deputies, who are each elected by voters from their own province. The number of Deputies a province has is based on how many people live there: the more people a province has, the more deputies it gets. No province can have less than two Deputies. Deputies serve 4-year terms. The total number of Deputies for the period 2006-2010 is 178.
The other house is the Senate (Senado). In the Senate, each province is represented equally, by one Senator. Senators serve 4-year terms. There are 32 Senators, one for every province and one for the National District, where the capital city is.
The judicial branch is the part of government makes sure that the laws are obeyed and interprets what the law means. The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court and many lower courts. If the Supreme Court decides that a law is not allowed by the Constitution, then it is not a law anymore. The Supreme Court is made up of at least 11 judges. The head of the Supreme Court is called the President of the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court Justice serves until he or she either dies, or resigns (quits in the middle of his or her term). The Supreme Court controls all the courts in the country.
Provincial and municipal government[change]
The Mayor (Síndico) is the head of the executive branch and the Municipal Council (Ayuntamiento) is the legislative branch.
A municipality can have one municipal district (distrito municipal) or more. A municipal council (Junta Municipal) for such a municipal district is elected by the municipal council of the municipality to which it belongs and not for the people that lives there.
- Asamblea Nacional. "CONSTITUCION POLITICA DE LA REPBULICA DOMINICANA DE 2002" (in Spanish). http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/DomRep/domrep02.html. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- Congreso Nacional. "Ley No. 3455, Organización Municipal, del 18 de diciembre del 1952" (in Spanish) (PDF). http://www.fedomu.org.do/docs/ley_3455.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- Oficina Nacional de Estadistica, Departamento de Cartografia, Division de Limites y Linderos. "Listado de Codigos de Provincias, Municipio y Distritos Municipales, Actualizada a Junio 20 del 2006" (in Spanish). http://www.one.gob.do/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=113. Retrieved 2008-01-02.