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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    Branches of Government

    The structure of the system of government of the Dominican Republic is composed of three main powers: the legislative power, the executive power and the judicial power.

    Legislative power

    Within the constitutional hierarchy, the legislative branch constitutes the primary power of the State. It is represented by the Senate of the Republic or Higher House and by the Chamber of Deputies or the Lower House.

    The Senate is composed of 32 legislators, which represent the 31 provinces of the country and the Distrito Nacional. The House of Representatives is composed of 150 congressmen. The essential purpose of the bi-cameral body, called the National Congress, is to legislate in the name of the various sectors of the nation.

    It is the responsibility of the legislative branch to propose and produce laws that upon approval are sent to the executive power for approval. Also, it is responsible for naming judges to the central electoral junta and the members of the Chamber of Accounting. The ratification of international agreements and national contracts that the executive power makes with foreign bodies also are passed on to the legislative branch. The main political parties of the country are represented in this branch.

    Executive power

    The Constitution establishes that the executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, who will be elected every four years by direct vote. The President can opt only for a second, non-consecutive, constitutional presidency, unable to run again for the same position or for vice-president of the Republic.

    The President of the Republic is the head of public administration and the highest chief of all the armed forces of the Republic and the police bodies. Article 55 of the Constitution establishes the duties of the President, among them the appointment of State officials, the promotion of laws, the regulation of customs, ensuring good tax collection and the investment of national income in good faith.

    Judicial Power

    The third power of the State is, according to the Constitution and laws, the institution whose responsibility it is to administer justice, through its special bodies and hierarchical tribunals. Its function is to ensure the protection of the rights established in rules and laws. Together, the tribunals constitutes the judicial power.

    The basic structure of the judicial branch is set forth by Constitution (articles 63 and 77) and by the Organic Law of Judicial Power (Law No. 821 of November 21, 1927 and its modifications). Special rules of procedure govern its functions: the Civil Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Labor Code, the Tributary Code, the Children and Adolescents Code, the High Appeals Code, the Land Registration Law, Law No. 327-98 on Judicial Career and Law No. 46-97 on Budgetary Autonomy of the Legislative and Judicial Powers.

    The judicial branch is independent from the other powers of the State. It enjoys administrative and budgetary autonomy, but its budget is annually assigned by the legislative power through the Public Expenditure Law.

    The justices on the Supreme Court of Justice are chosen by the Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura, which is governed by Law 169 of August 2, 1997, and which is chaired by the President of the Republic. In the absence of the President, it is controlled by the Vicepresident of the Republic, and in the absence of both, by the Attorney General of the Republic. The judges chosen by the Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura have life terms.

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