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regulating their exercise; those laws which do so shall be held to be unconstitutional and shall be of no effect.

TITLE V. Of the Congress of the United States of Venezuela,
its Composition and Attributes.

Section 1.-Of the Composition of Congress.

18. The Congress of the United States of Venezuela shall be composed of two Chambers, one of Senators, the other of Deputies 19. The States have the competency to regulate the mode of election of Deputies.

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20. In order to form the Chamber of Deputies each State shall elect one Deputy for every 35,000 inhabitants, and one other for any excess not less than 15,000. Substitute Deputies shall likewise be elected equal in number to the Deputies, and to be substituted for them in the order of their election.

21. In order to be a Deputy it is necessary to be a Venezuelan by birth.

22. The election of Deputies and Substitute Deputies is popular, and shall be carried out in conformity with paragraph 24 of Article 13 of this Constitution.

23 The Federal district, as provided for by paragraph 6 of Article 13 of this Constitution, shall likewise elect its Deputies in accordance with the same rules as laid down for the States.

24 The Deputies shall hold their office for four years, and shall be renewed in full.

Sole paragraph.-When through death or from any other cause the representation of a State is reduced to less than its proper number, it will proceed, in conformity with the law, to hold an election to fill up the vacancies that have occurred for such time as may be required to complete its period. In this case the Substitute Deputies remaining from the first election shall be held to be Principal Deputies.

25. The Chamber of Deputies has the following attributes:(1.) To examine the Annual Report to be presented by the President of the United States of Venezuela.

(2.) To elect every two years, within the first fifteen days of its Sessions, the Attorney-General of the nation, and two substitutes, by an absolute majority of votes, in successive ballots. These shall make a legal declaration before the ligh Federal Court, promising

to enter upon the exercise of their functions in the manner determined by law.

(3.) To pronounce a vote of censure upon the Ministers of State, who, ipso facto, vacate their office.

Section 3. Of the Senate.

26. To form this Chamber the Legislative Body of each State shall elect three principal Senators, as also three substitutes to fill up vacancies among the former in the order of their election.

27. In the event of death, resignation accepted by the Chamber, or of any other cause, the total number of Principal and Substitute Senators of a State is reduced, the Legislative Assembly shall proceed to hold elections, for the remainder of its Constitutional period, to complete the number referred to in Article 26; the substitutes elected at the first election shall, in their proper order, be held to be principals.

28. To be a Senator it is necessary to be a Venezuelan by birth and to be 30 years of age.

29. The Senators shall hold office for four years, and shall be renewed in full.

Section 4.-Dispositions common to both Chambers.

30. The Legislative Chambers shall assemble every year in the capital of the Union on the 20th February, or as nearly as possible on that date, without being specially convoked. The Sessions shall last seventy days, but may be prolonged to ninety days if so decided by the majority.

31. The Chambers shall open their Sessions with at least twothirds of their members; in default of that number those present shall form a Preparatory Commission, and dictate the measures required to bring up the absent members.

32. Once opened, the Sessions may continue with the presence of two-thirds of those who took part at the installation, with the proviso that such number does not fall below one-half of the total number of members.

33. Although the two Chambers shall discharge their functions separately, they shall unite in Congress when prescribed by the Constitution or the laws, or when either of the two Chambers shail deem it necessary. If agreed to, the Chamber invited shall fix the day and hour of the assembly.

34. The Sessions shall be public, but the deliberations may be held in secret if the Chamber so directs.

35. The Chambers have the right—

(1.) Of framing rules to be observed in their Sessions, and for the regulation of debates.

(2.) Of inflicting penalties upon offenders.

(3.) Of establishing a police for the building in which their Sessions are held.

(4.) Of reproving or punishing spectators who fail to observe order.

(5.) Of removing those obstacles which may interfere with the free exercise of their functions.

(6.) Of ordering their private Resolutions to be carried out.

(7.) Of confirming the election of their members and of receiving their resignations.

36. The two Chambers shall discharge their functions in the same city, shall open and close their Sessions each on the same day, and neither shall have the power to suspend its sittings or to change its residence without the consent of the other. In case of a divergence of opinion, the will of the majority assembled in Congress shall be carried out.

37. The exercise of any public function, whether national or under any of the States, is incompatible, during the Session, with the office of Senator or Deputy.

38. The amount of compensation to be received by Senators and Deputies for their services shall be determined by law. No increase to the same shall, however, take effect until the period following that in which such increase has been sanctioned.

39. Senators and Deputies, from the 20th January of each year until the termination of thirty days after the close of the Sessions, shall enjoy personal inviolability. This shall consist of the suspension of all civil or criminal proceedings, whatever may be their origin or nature. If any member should commit any penal offence the investigation may continue until the termination of the summary proceedings, but nothing further shall be done during the period of immunity.

40. The Chambers shall not, in any case, be liable to any of their members whose immunity established by the preceding Article has been violated. The magistrates, authorities, and corporations, and their agents, who deprive a Senator or Deputy of his liberty during the enjoyment of immunity may be prosecuted before the Court of Cassation or the High Federal Court according to circumstances, and may be condemned to loss of office, with inability to exercise any public employment, either national or under the States, for a period of four years, and shall be responsible for the damages involved. The right of prosecution shall not expire until after the lapse of five years.

41. Congress shall be presided over by the President of the Senate, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies shall be Vice-President.

42. Members of the Chambers shall not be responsible for the opinions expressed nor the speeches made by them.

43. Senators and Deputies may not conclude with the National Executive contracts of any kind whatsoever, nor may they support before it the claims of others.

Section 5.-Of the Attributes of Congress of the United States of Venezuela.

44. The Congress of the United States of Venezuela has the following attributes:

(1.) To establish and organize the Federal District at the place ceded by the States for that purpose.

(2.) To decree national taxes and to organize all matters relating to the Customs.

(3.) To settle all questions relating to the working and security of the ports and the maritime and river coasts.

(4.) To establish and organize the national posts and telegraphs, and to fix the charges for the carriage of correspondence and the transmission of telegraphic messages.

(5.) To sanction the national Codes of law in accordance with paragraph 20 of Article 13 of this Constitution.

(6.) To fix the type, value, alloy, weight, and mintage of the national currency, and to decide upon the admission and circulation of foreign money.

(7.) To design the coat-of-arms and national flag, which shall be the same for the nation and for all the States.

(8.) To create, suppress, and grant funds for national appoint


(9.) To have the exclusive settlement of all that relates to the National Debt and its interest.

(10.) To decree loans on the national credit.

(11.) To dictate the measures necessary to perfect the system of national statistics and of the census of the population. This shall be carried out every ten years.

(12.) To fix annually the numbers of the armed land and naval forces, and to dictate the army regulations.

(13.) To define rules for the formation and replacement of the forces referred to in the preceding paragraph.

(14.) To declare war, and to call on the National Executive to negotiate peace.

(15.) To approve or reject Treaties and diplomatic agreements

which, without this proceeding, shall not be valid, neither shall they be ratified nor the ratifications exchanged.

(16.) To approve or reject contracts of national interest concluded by the President of the Union: the same shall not be carried into effect without such approval.

(17.) To prepare the Budget of national revenue and expenditure, which in no case shall be omitted to be voted every year.

(18.) To promote measures conducive to the prosperity of the country, and its progress in the knowledge of arts and sciences. (19.) To fix and make uniform the national weights and


(20.) To grant amnesties.

(21.) To establish the special administrative control applicable to the territories of Colon and Amazonas.

(22.) To establish the increase which may be necessary in the ratio of inhabitants for the election of Deputies.

(23.) To permit or refuse the admission of foreigners to the service of the Republic.

(24.) To dictate laws respecting the retirement and pensioning of military men.

(25.) To issue the law for the elections of President of the Republic and of the Deputies for the Federal District and National Congress.

(26.) To define the law relating to the responsibility of all public officials, whether of the nation or the States, for infractions of this Constitution and of the general laws of the Union.

(27.) To settle the method of conferring grades and promotions in the army, and to grant such grades from the rank of "Commandants" upwards.

45. Besides what is enumerated previously, the National Congress may issue laws of a general character whenever necessary.

46. The acts sanctioned by the Legislative Chambers of Venezuela discharging their functions separately as co-legislative bodies shall be denominated "Laws" or "Decrees"; and those sanctioned by the Chambers united in Congress, or separated for private reasons of either, shall be called "Resolutions" ("Acuerdos ").

Section 6.-Of the Formation of the Laws.

47. The Laws and Decrees of Congress may be initiated in either of the Chambers and in the manner ordered by their respective regulations.

48. When a Bill shall have been presented it shall be read, and it will then be taken into consideration whether the Bill shall be admitted; if it is accepted it shall be discussed on three separate

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