In Guatemala, like many other democratic nations, the government is divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. From these three, it is important to understand how the legislative branch works, since it is the one that determines the laws and regulations that apply and affect all businesses.
The legislative branch in Guatemala is responsible for creating, amending, and repealing laws. The Congress of the Republic is a unicameral institution integrated by 160 congressmen and it serves as a check on the executive branch’s powers.
Congressmen are elected every four years through a proportional representation system, which has the effect of creating different party groups among it. Normally, more than 15 parties get to have representation in Congress. This creates a very complex dynamic and makes alliances between parties very important.
The legislative branch is tasked with a range of crucial functions. Firstly, it drafts, debates, and votes on bills. To effectively handle the bills introduced, the Congress of the Republic forms specialized committees. These committees focus on specific areas such as finance, human rights, justice, and education, allowing for examination of related issues. The committee system plays a crucial role in the legislative process, as bills are reviewed and amended before they proceed to the plenary for voting.
Furthermore, it has the power to oversee the executive branch by questioning the Ministries of State and public workers and approving the General Budget of the State, among other faculties. It also is responsible for appointing the Supreme Court Justices and other State representatives.
The legislative branch in Guatemala faces a fair share of challenges. These include the need to enhance transparency, combat corruption, and strengthen institutional capacity. It plays a vital role in shaping the nation’s laws and policies.
In this context it should reflect the collective voice of the Guatemalan people, although it is not completely so. Understanding the functions, powers, and processes of the legislative branch is essential for citizens and businesses to engage in the democratic process, contribute to the development of their country and be aware of the laws that are being promoted that can affect or enhance their rights and activities.