Government of Argentina


Government of Argentina

The government of Argentina, functioning within the framework of a federal system, is a presidential representative democratic republic. The President of Argentina is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

:"For electoral procedures and results, see Elections in Argentina. For history and current situation of politics and political parties, see Politics of Argentina. For political divisions, see the main article as well as the list of provinces of Argentina."

Executive Branch

The current composition of the Executive Branch includes only the chief of state and head of government President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, formally given power of the Administration and to follow through with the interests of the National Government. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the national armed forces.

In elections, the President and the Vice President are chosen through universal suffrage by the nation as a whole. Constitutional reforms in 1994 introduced a two-round system. In this system, if the President-Vice President ticket wins either 45% of the total vote or 40% of the vote with at least 10% more than the second-place candidate, they are declared the winners. If this is not the case, the two tickets who received the most votes will face a second round whose victor will be decided by a simple majority. This mechanism was not necessary in the 1995 election, when it could have first come into use, but in the 2003 Presidential election it led to the selection of Néstor Kirchner in the second round.

The cabinet is appointed by the President but is not technically part of the Executive. The Vice-President, Julio Cobos, belongs to the Legislative Branch, since he is also the president of the Senate.

In office since December 2007, President Cristina Kirchner's cabinet, as of July 25, 2008, consists of:

* Chief of the Cabinet:
* Minister of the Interior:
* Minister of Foreign Relations (mostly known as the "Chancellor"): Jorge Taiana
* Minister of Defense: Nilda Garré
* Minister of Economy and Production:
* Minister of Justice and Human Rights: Aníbal Fernández
* Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security: Carlos Tomada
* Minister of Education:
* Minister of Science, technology and Innovative Production:
* Minister of Health:
* Minister of Social Development: Alicia Kirchner
* Minister of Federal Planning and Public Utilities: [http://www.casarosada.gov.ar/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1451&Itemid=116] cia.ca

Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch is a bicameral National Congress or "Congreso Nacional", which consists of the Senate (72 seats), presided by the Vice-President, and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats), currently presided by Eduardo Fellner of Jujuy Province.

This branch also includes the Vice-President (since he is the president of the Senate Chamber), the General Auditing Office of the Nation and the Ombudsman.

The residents of each of the provinces and of the City of Buenos Aires elect deputies and senators directly. Deputies are representatives of the whole people of the Nation, while senators represent their districts. Each district elects a number of deputies roughly proportional to their population by proportional representation, and three senators: two for the majority, and one for the first minority.

Following the October 28, 2007 Argentine general election, half the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and one third of the seats in the Senate were subjected to the ballot box. Justicialist Party candidates (on the Front for Victory ticket) allied to Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, Argentina's progressive ruling couple, secured 153 of 257 seats in the lower house, gaining 13 seats and giving them an absoulte majority (internal differences aside, this continued the Justicialists' control of the lower house, in effect since 1989); a further 9 seats went to anti-Kirchner Justicialists (mostly conservatives), who lost 15. The social democratic Radical Civic Union secured 30 seats, losing 7 and reducing their presence there to the smallest since Juan Peron's heyday in the early '50s. The christian democratic Civic Coalition secured 27 seats, gaining 13. The conservative Republican Proposal secured 13 seats, losing 11. A further 25 seats went to smaller parties, mostly provincially-oriented.

Something similar took place in the Seante, where the Kirchners' Front for Victory secured 44 of 72 seats (gaining 3), the Radical Civic Union secured 10 (a loss of 5), the Civic Coalition secured 5 (gaining 4), and anti-Kirchner Justicialists maintained their presence of 4 seats. Smaller, provincial parties retained their 9 seats between them; Justicialists (weather pro or anti-Kichner) manitained the control over the Senate they've enjoyed since 1983.

Though the Kirchners' Front for Victory majorities are, no doubt, impressive, they by no means guarantee them a legislative blank check. On July 16, 2008, a presidentially-sponsored bill to increase Argentina's export taxes on the basis of a sliding scale met with deadlock, ultimately defeated by the tie-breaking "no" vote of Vice President Julio Cobos himself. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2008/07/16/um/m-01716277.htm Crisis política tras el sorpresivo voto del vicepresidente Cobos contra las retenciones móviles kirchneristas ] ]

Judiciary Branch

The Judiciary Branch is composed of federal judges and others with different jurisdictions, and a Supreme Court with nine members (one President, one Vice-President and seven Ministers), appointed by the President with approval of the Senate, who may be deposed by Congress. As of August 2006 there are two vacancies, which then President Kirchner stated he did not intend to fill.

* President of the Supreme Court: Dr. Ricardo L. Lorenzetti
* Vice-President of the Supreme Court: Dra. Elena I. Highton de Nolasco
* Minister of the Court: Dr. Carlos S. Fayt
* Minister of the Court: Dr. Juan Carlos Maqueda
* Minister of the Court: Dr. Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni
* Minister of the Court: Dr. Enrique S. Petracchi
* Minister of the Court: Dra. Carmen Argibay

Provincial and municipal governments

Argentina is divided into 23 districts called provinces and 1 federal district, which hosts the national capital, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (which is geographically surrounded by the province of Buenos Aires and historically, though not administratively, part of it). Each of the provinces has its own constitution, laws, authorities, form of government, etc., though these must first and foremost comply with the national constitution and laws.

The government of each province has three branches (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary). The Executive is led by a governor. The Legislative Branch may be organized as a unicameral or a bicameral system (that is, either one or two chambers or houses).

In all provinces except Buenos Aires, the provinces are divided into districts called departments ("departamentos"). Departaments are merely administrative divisions; they do not have government structures or authorities of their own. They are in turn divided into municipalities (cities, towns and villages). Each province has its own naming conventions and government systems for different kinds of municipalities. For example, Córdoba Province has "municipios" (cities) and "comunas" (towns); Santa Fe Province further distinguishes between first- and second-category "municipios"; Chaco refers to all populated centers as "municipios" in three categories.

The province of Buenos Aires has a different system. Its territory is divided into 134 districts called "partidos", which are technically municipalities, even though they usually contain several cities and towns.

Regardless of the province, each department/partido has a head town ("cabecera"), often though not necessarily the largest urban center, and in some provinces often named the same as their parent district.

Municipalities are ruled by mayors, commonly called "intendentes" in the case of cities and towns (the larger categories). A city has a legislative body called the Deliberative Council ("Concejo Deliberante"). The smaller towns have simpler systems, often ruled by commissions presided by a Communal President ("presidente communal") or a similarly named authority.

The Federal Capital, Buenos Aires, was declared an autonomous city in the 1994 constitutional reform. Its mayor, formerly chosen by the President of the Republic, is now elected by the people, and receives the title of Chief of Government ("Jefe de Gobierno"). Other than that, Buenos Aires, like the provinces, has its own Legislative Branch (a unicameral Legislature) and sends deputies and senators as representatives to the National Congress.

References

*factbook
*en icon [http://www.state.gov/ U.S. Department of State]
*es icon [http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Argentina/argen94.html Text of the Constitution]
*es icon [http://www.csjn.gov.ar Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina]
*es icon [http://www.presidencia.gov.ar Presidency of Argentina]


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