Colombia is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy where the executive branch dominates government structure. Colombia (official name: Republic of Colombia) is one of the most violent countries in the world.
President is both chief of the state and head of the government. President holds the executive powers . President and the Vice-President are elected by popular vote for a four-year term.
The legislature in Colombia is bicameral. The parliament called Congress consists of: Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (the lower house). The members of both the houses are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The political rights of the people of the country are limited.
The judiciary is not independent and the country's judicial system remains slow and infected with corruption and extortion. The main source of the law in Colombia is the constitution of 1991 which is based on the Spanish law. Laws also originate from the judicial reviews of the executive and legislative acts. A new criminal code modelled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004 and is gradually being implemented in the country. Spanish is the judicial language in Columbia; an interpreter can always be arranged.
Colombia is not ruled by law. The government is not able to guarantee the security of its citizens due to politically motivated and drug-related violence in the country. Foreign nationals can get almost the same treatment from judiciary as the natives, though there have been a few complaints. A high degree of corruption exists in the country. Corruption affects virtually all aspects of public life and extends far beyond the narcotics trade.
Major political parties
The major political parties in Colombia are: PC (Conservative Party), PDA (Alternative Democratic Pole), PL (Liberal Party), PSUN (Social National Unity Party), CR (Radical Change), Colombia First. Colombia has about 60 formally recognized political parties, most of which do not have a presence in either house of the Congress.
Major political leaders
President: Alvaro URIBE Velez (since August 2002, re-elected May 2006) – Colombia First, backed by PC, PL dissidents and independents.
Next political election dates
Presidential: May 2010
Senate and the House of Representatives: both in March 2010