Chamber of Representatives of Colombia
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The Chamber of Representatives (Spanish: ''Cámara de Representantes'') is the
lower house A lower house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a Bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has co ...
of the
Congress of Colombia The Congress of the Republic of Colombia ( es, Congreso de la República de Colombia) is the name given to Colombia's Bicameralism, bicameral national legislature. The Congress of Colombia consists of the 108-seat Senate of Colombia, Senate, ...
. It has 172 members elected to four-year terms.


Electoral system

According to the
Colombian Constitution The Political Constitution of Colombia of 1991 ( es, Constitución Política de Colombia de 1991), is the Constitution A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basi ...
, the Chamber of Representatives, currently composed of 166 representatives serving four-year terms, is elected in territorial constituencies, special constituencies and an international constituency. The departments (and the capital district of Bogotá D.C.) each form territorial electoral constituencies (''circunscripciones territoriales''). Each constituency has at least two members, and one more for every 365,000 inhabitants or fraction greater than 182,500 over and above the initial 365,000. For the legislative term 2014-2018, 161 of the Chamber's 166 members were elected in territorial constituencies. There are also three special constituencies, electing the remaining five members: one for Indigenous communities currently with one representative, one for Afro-Colombian communities (''negritudes'') currently with two representatives and one for Colombian citizens resident abroad currently with one representative. As a result of the 2015 constitutional reform, the number of seats allocated to Colombian citizens resident abroad was reduced to one, from 2018 onward, as an additional special seat will be created for the territorial constituency of Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina to represent the archipelago's Raizal community. Since 2014, the assignment of additional seats is based on the corresponding proportional increase of the national population in accordance with census results. If as a result of the above a territorial constituency should lose one or more seats, it keeps the number of seats to which it was entitled to on July 20, 2002.ng/> For elections to the Chamber, political parties or other movements and groups run single lists, with a number of candidates not exceeding the total number of seats to be filled, although in constituencies with only two seats, party lists may include a third name. The current threshold for parties to win seats in a territorial constituency is 50% of the electoral quotient (total votes divided by total seats) in constituencies returning more than two members, and 30% of the electoral quotient in constituencies returning two members. Seats are then distributed using the distributing number, or ''cifra repartidora''. This number is obtained by successively dividing the number of votes received by each list by one, two, three and so forth, and placing the results in descending order until the total number of results equal to the number of seats to be filled. The lowest resulting number is called the distributing number (''cifra repartidora''). Each list shall obtain the number of seats that corresponds to the number of times the distributing number is contained in the total number of its votes.ng Parties may run a
closed list Closed list describes the variant of party-list systems where voters can effectively only vote for political parties as a whole; thus they have no influence on the party-supplied order in which party candidates are elected. If voters had some inf ...
, with the order of candidates pre-determined, or opt for
preferential voting {{short description, Election systems Preferential voting or preference voting (PV) may refer to different election systems or groups of election systems: * Ranked voting The term ranked voting (also known as preferential voting or ranked choi ...
(open list), where the position of candidates on the list is reordered based on the individual preference votes of the voters. In congressional elections, voters choosing a party running a closed list only vote for the party list; voters who choose a party running an open list may indicate their candidate of preference among the names displayed on the ballot, if the voter does not indicate a preference and only votes for the party, the vote is valid for purposes of the threshold but not for reordering the list based on preferential votes.


Current seat distribution


Eligibility

To be a representative, a person must be a Colombian citizen (by birth or naturalization) over the age of 25 at the time of the election. There are general rules of ineligibility and incompatibility which apply to both houses of Congress, explained here. In addition, general rules on the replacement and non-replacement of members depending on different circumstances also apply to both houses of Congress.


Exclusive powers of the House

# Elect the
Ombudsman An ombudsman (, also ,), ombud, ombuds, ombudswoman, ombudsperson or public advocate is an official who is usually appointed by the government or by parliament (usually with a significant degree of independence) to investigate complaints and at ...
. # Examine and finalize the general budgetary and treasury account presented to it by the
Comptroller General A comptroller (pronounced either the same as ''controller'' or as ) is a management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a nonprofit organization, or a government body. It is the art ...
. # Bring charges to the Senate, at the request of the investigation and accusation commission, for the impeachment of the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
(or whoever replaces them) and members of the ''Comisión de Aforados''. # Take cognizance of complaints and grievances presented by the Attorney General or by individuals against the aforementioned officials and, if valid, to bring charges on that basis before the Senate. # Request the aid of other authorities to pursue the investigations.


Judicial powers

Until the 2015 constitutional reform, the investigation and accusation commission (Comisión de Investigación y Acusación) of the House of Representatives was recommending to the plenary the indictment of the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
,
Constitutional Court A constitutional court is a high court that deals primarily with constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a State (polity), state, namely, the executi ...
justices,
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
justices, Superior Council of the Judiciary members,
Council of State A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the Cabinet (government), cabinet or it may refer to a non-executive advisory body as ...
justices and the
Attorney General In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG or Atty.-Gen) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general. In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have exec ...
. These senior officials of the State were said to benefit from a "constitutional
fuero (), (), () or () is a Law of Spain, Spanish legal term and concept. The word comes from Latin , an open space used as a market, tribunal and meeting place. The same Latin root is the origin of the French language, French terms and , and the ...
", first enshrined in the 1886 Constitution and kept by the 1991 Constitution, although cabinet ministers lost their special constitutional protection in 1992. The House's accusation commission had been very criticized over the years, said to grant immunity to any senior official accused of corruption or wrongdoing. Between 1886 and 2014, only one of Colombia's 40 presidents,
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (12 March 1900 – 17 January 1975) was a Colombian Army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or " ...
, was charged and sentenced by Congress in 1959 (after the end of his term), and that ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court seven years later. Between 1992 and 2014, the accusations commission received a total of 3,496 complaints, of which 56% were closed and 44% still pending. No case resulted in impeachment, and in fact only one case ever made its way to the floor of the House, that of President
Ernesto Samper Ernesto Samper Pizano (born 3 August 1950) is a Colombian politician. Samper is a member of the influential Samper family. He served as the President of Colombia The president of Colombia ( es, Presidente de Colombia), officially known a ...
for the Proceso 8000.


Comisión de Aforados

The government's constitutional reform in 2015 stripped the accusations commission of most of its power and restricted the existing ''fuero constitucional'' to the President. In its stead, the 2015 reform created the ''Comisión de Aforados'', which will investigate and indict the aforementioned judges and Attorney General, even if they may have ceased to exercise their functions. The commission will be made up of five members elected by a joint session of Congress for individual eight-year terms, from lists sent by the Council of Judicial Government and elaborated through a public competition. The eligibility, ineligibility and incompatibility rules for the commission will be the same as for members of the Supreme Court of Justice. In the case of investigations for unworthiness to serve for misconduct, the new commission shall present its charges, when necessary, to the House of Representatives, which will only be able to suspend or remove the accused from office. The House decision can be appealed to the Senate, which holds the final word. In such cases, the commission will have 60 days to present an accusation and 30 days to decide. In the case of investigations for other crimes, the commission shall present charges to the Supreme Court of Justice for further prosecution. The new commission will be formed after a transitional period of one year, during which the accusations commission retains its original responsibilities.


Elections

The most recent parliamentary election in Colombia took place on 13 March 2022. For elections before that, see the below table:


See also

* Constitutional history of Colombia * List of presidents of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia


References


Notes


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Chamber of Representatives of Colombia Government of Colombia
Colombia Colombia (, ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with insular regions in North America—near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast—as well as in the Pacific Ocean. The Colombian mainland is bordered by the Cari ...
Legislative branch of Colombia