Constitutional & Legal Foundations
Like the United States, Guatemala's government is comprised of three branches: the Congreso de la Republica or Legislative Branch, a unicameral national congress made up of 110 deputies who serve 4 year terms; the Executive Branch, comprised of the president, vice president, and the Council of Ministers, who are appointed by the president; and the Judicial Branch, a hierarchical series of upper and lower courts over which the 13 member Corte Surpema de Justicia (Supreme Court) presides. Members of the Supreme Court serve five-year terms, and the president, who acts as both chief of state and as head of government, serves a four-year term.
Guatemala is divided into 22 states or departmentos, under which 331 municipos (townships) handle local affairs. Each departmento is headed by a governor. Under the current constitution, the president and vice president are elected by national vote and may serve only one term. Voting is compulsory for citizens 18 years or older.
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