National Congress of Bolivia

National Congress of Bolivia

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The government building of the National Congress of Bolivia at the Plaza Murillo in central La Paz

The Plurinational Legislative Assembly (Spanish: Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional) also known as the National Congress (Spanish: Congreso Nacional) is the national legislature of Bolivia, based in the nation's de facto capital, La Paz.

The National Congress is bicameral, consisting of a lower house (the Chamber of Deputies or Cámara de Diputados) and an upper house (the Senate, or Cámara de Senadores).

The Senate has 36 seats. Each of the country's nine departments returns four senators elected by proportional representation (D'Hondt) (Until 2009 the Senate had 27 seats: three seats per department: two from the party or formula that receives the most votes, with the third senator representing the second-placed party.) Senators are elected from party lists to serve five-year terms, and the minimum age to hold a Senate seat is 35 years.

The Chamber of Deputies comprises 130 seats: 77 deputies are elected to represent single-member electoral districts, and an additional 53 are elected by proportional representation from party lists on a departmental basis. Deputies also serve five-year terms, and must be aged at least 25 on the day of the election. For the 2005 general election, seats were reapportioned, making 70 single-member electoral districts (60 are elected by proportional representation).


2010–2015 Congress

The 2010–2015 Plurinational Legislative Assembly is controlled in both houses by the governing Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), elected with a 2/3 supermajority. Just four incumbent members of the 2005–2010 Congress returned: Deputy Antonio Franco; Deputy Javier Zabaleta (MAS-IPSP/MSM); Senator René Martínez (MAS-IPSP), who was a deputy; and Senator Róger Pinto, previously of Podemos and now representing PPB-CN.[1] As part of a break between the MAS-IPSP and its ally the Without Fear Movement (MSM), the latter party's four deputies, elected on the MAS slate pledged in late March 2010, "to act in accord with our political identity, with our conscience, and with the people who elected us with their vote." Consequently, MAS-IPSP now has 84 members in the Chambers of Deputies, while the MSM has four.[2]

Congressional elections were held as part of general elections on 9 December 2009. After the votes were counted, party strengths in Congress were as follows:

Composition of the Bolivian Congress after the 2009 election:
Party Votes Percentage Deputies Senators
  Movement for Socialism 2.943.209 64,22 88 26
  Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence 1.212.795 26,46 37 10
  National Unity Front 258.971 5,65 3
  Social Alliance 106.027 2,31 2
  Social Patriotic Unity Movement 23.257 0,51
  People 15.627 0,34
  Peoples for Liberty and Sovereignty 12.995 0,28
  Social Democratic Bolivia 9.905 0,22
Source: Comisión Nacional Electoral

The President of the Senate, elected on 19 January 2010, is Ana María Romero de Campero (MAS-IPSP, La Paz). Seventeen of 36 members of the Senate are women.[3][4] The 26-member MAS-IPSP majority includes all four senators from La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí; three senators from Cochabamba and Chuquisaca; and two senators from each of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, and Tarija.[1]

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, elected on 19 January 2010, is Héctor Arce (MAS-IPSP). 33 of 130 deputies (25.38%) are women.[5]

Prior Congresses

2002–2005 Congress

Congressional elections were held on 30 June 2002. After the votes were counted, party strengths in Congress were as follows:

Summary of the 30 June 2002 National Congress of Bolivia election results
Parties Deputies Senators
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, MNR) 36 11
Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) 27 8
Movement of Revolutionary Left (Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria, MIR) 26 5
New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana, NFR) 25 2
Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista, ADN) 4 1
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti, MIP) 6 0
Citizens' Solidarity Union (Unión Cívica Solidaridad, UCS) 5 0
Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) 1 0
Total 130 27

The next election was scheduled to take place in June 2007, but was brought forward to December 2005 on a decision from interim President Eduardo Rodríguez.

2005–2010 Congress

Congressional elections were held on 18 December 2005, concurrently with the 2005 presidential election. —

e • d Summary of the 18 December 2005 National Congress of Bolivia election results
Parties Votes % Deputies Senators
Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo) 1,544,374 53.7 72 12
Social and Democratic Power (Poder Democrático y Social, PODEMOS) 821,745 28.6 43 13
National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional) 224,090 7.8 8 1
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario) 185,859 6.5 7 1
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti) 61,948 2.2 - -
New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana) 19,667 0.7 - -
Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia (Frente Patriótico Agropecuario de Bolivia) 8,737 0.3 - -
Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia (Unión Social de los Trabajadores de Bolivia) 7,381 0.3 - -
Total (turnout: 84.534 %) 2,873,801 100.0 130 27
Null votes 104,570 3.4
Blank votes 124,027 3.0
Total votes 3,102,417 100.0
Registered voters 3,671,152
Source: CNE and Rulers

The Chamber of Deputies had the following leadership: President Edmundo Novillo Aguilar (MAS, Cochabamba); First Vice President Julia Ramos (MAS); Second Vice President Oscar Urenda (Social Democratic Power, Podemos); First Secretary Oscar Chirinos (MAS); Second Secretary Alex Cerrogrande (MAS); Third Secretary Jorge Becerra (National Unity Front, UN), and Fourth Secretary Roxana Sandoval (Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, MNR).[6]


Government Palace of Bolivia in downtown La Paz.

The two chambers of Congress meet in the legislative palace located on Plaza Murillo, La Paz's main city-centre square. Plaza Murillo is also flanked by the presidential palace (informally known as the Palacio Quemado – the "Burnt Palace" – on account of repeated attempts to raze it to the ground in the 19th century) and the cathedral of Nuestra Señora de La Paz. Prior to becoming the seat of the legislature in 1904, the congress building had, at different times, housed a convent and a university.

The Vice-President, in his capacity as President of Congress, has an imposing suite of offices on Calle Mercado in central La Paz. The building, designed by Emilio Villanueva, was erected during the 1920s and was originally intended to serve as the headquarters of Bolivia's central bank (Banco de la Nación Boliviana). Under Jaime Paz Zamora's 1989–1993 presidency, the building was reassigned to the vice-presidency, but the vice-presidential staff did not relocate entirely until major reconstruction and renovation work, starting in 1997, had been carried out. The Library of Congress and the National Congressional Archive are also located on the premises.

See also

  • List of Presidents of the Chamber of Senators of Bolivia
  • List of Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies of Bolivia


  1. ^ a b "MAS confirma 26 senadores, 85 diputados y asegura 2/3". FM Bolivia. 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  2. ^ "Ruptura MAS-MSM llega a la Asamblea Legislativa," La Prensa, 27 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Ana María Romero de Campero elegida presidente del Senado, Los Tiempos, 19 January 2010.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ ABI (2006-01-19). "Bolpress:: El masista Edmundo Novillo asume la presidencia de la Cámara de Diputados". BolPress. Retrieved 2010-05-23. [dead link]

External links

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