Constitution of the Bolivian Republic of 1826
In the Name of God.
The General Constituent Congress of the Bolivian Republic, appointed by the Nation for the purpose of framing the Constitution of the State, Decrees as follows:
TITLE I.—Of the Nation.Edit
Chapter I.—Of the Bolivian Nation.Edit
Art. I. The Bolivian Nation is the aggregate of all Bolivians.
II. Bolivia is, and always shall be, independent of every foreign domination, and cannot be the patrimony of any person or family whatsoever.
Chapter II.—Of the Territory.Edit
III. The territory of the Bolivian Republic comprehends the Departments of Potosí, Chuquisaca, La Paz, Santa-Cruz, Cochabamba, and Oruro.
IV. It is divided into departments, provinces, and cantons.
V. A more convenient division shall be made by a law: while another law shall fix its boundaries in concurrence with the adjoining States.
TITLE II.—Of Religion.Edit
VI. The Catholic Apostolic Roman Religion is that of the Republic, to the exclusion of every other. The Government will protect it, and cause it to be respected; recognizing the principle of freedom of conscience.
TITLE III.—Of the Government.Edit
Chapter I.—Form of the Government.Edit
VII. The Government of Bolivia is popular Representative.
VIII. The Sovereignty emanates from the People, and its exercise resides in the Powers established by this Constitution.
IX. The Supreme Power is divided for its exercise into 4 sections or branches: Electoral, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
X. Each Power, Section, or Branch, shall exercise the functions assigned to it by this Constitution, without transgressing the limits assigned to it.
Chapter II.—Of the Bolivians.Edit
XI. Bolivians are:
- All who are born in the territory of the Republic.
- The children of a Bolivian father or mother born out of the territory, when they legally express their wish to become domiciliated in Bolivia.
- Those who fought for liberty in Junin or Ayacucho.
- Foreigners who obtain letters of naturalization, or who have resided 3 years in the territory of the Republic.
- All those who until this day have been Slaves, acquire the right of freedom, by the act itself of publishing the Constitution; but they cannot quit the residence of their former masters, except in the manner which shall be determined by a special law.
XII. The duties of every Bolivian are:
- To live subject to the Constitution and the Laws.
- To respect and obey the constituted authorities.
- To contribute to the public burdens.
- To sacrifice his property, and even his life, when the safety of the Republic requires it.
- To watch over the preservation of the public liberties.
XIII. Bolivians who are deprived of the exercise of the Electoral Power shall enjoy all the civil rights granted to the Citizens.
XIV. The qualifications for Citizenship are:
- To be a Bolivian.
- To be married, or to have attained his majority, that is, 21 years of age.
- To know how to read and write; although this qualification shall be required only after the year 1836.
- To have some employment or trade, or to profess some science or art, without subjection to any other person in the capacity of menial servant (sirviente domestico).
XV. Citizens are:
- Those who fought for liberty at Junin and Ayacucho.
- Foreigners who have obtained Letters of Citizenship.
- Foreigners married to a Bolivian woman, and who possess the qualifications 3 and 4 of Art. XIV.
- Foreigners unmarried, provided they have resided 4 years in the Republic, and possess the same qualifications.
XVI. The Citizens of those Nations which were formerly Spanish America, shall enjoy the rights of Citizenship in Bolivia, agreeably to the Treaties entered into with them.
XVII. Only such as are Citizens in the exercise of Citizenship can obtain employments and offices in the Public Service.
XVIII. The exercise of Citizenship is suspended:
- In the case of insanity.
- For the crime of fraudulent bankruptcy.
- For having been the object of a criminal prosecution.
- For being a notorious drunkard, gambler, or beggar.
- For buying or selling votes at elections, or disturbing their regular proceedings.
XIX. The right of Citizenship is forfeited:
- By treason to the Public Cause.
- By naturalization in a foreign country.
- By having suffered infamous or corporeal punishment, by virtue of a judicial sentence, and not having obtained a restitution of rights from the Legislative Body.
- By accepting employments, honors, or emoluments from another Government, without the consent of the Chamber of Censors.
TITLE IV.—Of the Electoral Power.Edit
Chapter I.—Of the Elections.Edit
XX. The Electoral Power is immediately exercised by Citizens having the rights of Citizenship, naming 1 Elector for every 100 souls.
XXI. The exercise of the Electoral Power can never be suspended; and the Civil Magistrates, without awaiting any order, must convoke the People precisely at the time indicated by law.
XXII. A Special Law shall lay down the Regulations to be observed at Elections.
Chapter II.—Of the Electoral Body.Edit
XXIII. The Electoral Body is composed of the Electors named by those who are entitled to vote.
XXIV. In order to be an Elector it is indispensable to be a Citizen in the exercise of Citizenship, and who can read and write.
XXV. Each Electoral Body shall last 4 years, at the end of which it shall terminate, its place being filled up by that which succeeds it.
XXVI. The Electors shall assemble every year in the capital of their respective province, on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th days of April, in order to exercise the following powers:
- To examine the qualifications of the Citizens who enter upon the exercise of their rights, and declare the inability of those who are in the cases comprehended in Articles XVIII, XIX.
- To name, in the first instance, the individuals who are to compose the Chambers.
- To elect and propose, in ternary: 1°. to the respective Chambers, the Members destined to renew them, or to fill up their vacancies; 2°. to the Senate, the Members of the Courts of the judicial district to which they belong, and the Judges of the First Instance; 3°. to the Prefect of the Department, the Justices of the Peace who should be appointed.
- To propose: 1°. to the Executive Power, from 6 to 10 candidates for the Prefecture of their department; as many others for the Government of their province, and for the Corregidors of their cantons and towns; 2°. to the Ecclesiastical Government, a list of Curates and Vicars for the vacancies which occur in their province.
- To receive the Returns (Actas) of the popular elections; examine the identity of the newly elected, and declare them constitutionally appointed.
- To petition the Chamber for whatever they believe to be conducive to the welfare of the Citizens; and to complain of the wrongs and injuries which they may receive from the constituted authorities.
TITLE V.—Of the Legislative Power.Edit
Chapter I.—Of the Division, Powers, and Restrictions of this Branch.Edit
XXVII. The Legislative Power emanates immediately from the electoral bodies named by the People: its exercise resides in 3 Chambers: 1°. Of Tribunes. 2°. Of Senators. 3°. Of Censors.
XXVIII. Each Chamber shall be composed of 20 Members, for the first 20 years.
XXIX. On the 6th day of August of each year, the Legislative Body shall assemble of itself, without waiting for being convoked.
XXX. The particular powers of each Chambers shall be enumerated in their proper place. Those which the Chambers possess in common, are:
- To appoint the President of the Republic, and confirm his successors by an absolute plurality.
- To approve of the Vice-President, on the proposition of the President.
- To select the town which is to be the seat of Government, and to transfer it to another town, when important circumstances require it, and when such change is decreed by two-thirds of the Members composing the 3 Chambers.
- To decide, in a National Judicial Assembly (Juicio Nacional), whether or not there be just cause for prosecuting the Members of the Chambers, the Vice-President, or the Ministers of State.
- To invest, in time of war, or of extraordinary danger, the President of the Republic with the powers deemed indispensable for the salvation of the State.
- To choose from among the candidates which are presented in ternary by the Electoral Bodies, the Members destined to supply the vacancies in each Chamber.
XXXI. The Members of the Legislative Body may be appointed Vice-President of the Republic, or Ministers of State, in which case they cease to be Members of their respective Chambers.
XXXII. No individual of the Legislative Body can be arrested during the term of his deputation, but by a warrant from his respective Chamber; unless he be taken in the actual commission of a crime deserving capital punishment.
XXXIII. The Members of the Legislative Body shall be inviolable for the opinions which they express within their Chambers, in the exercise of their functions.
XXXIV. Each Legislative Parliament shall last 4 years; and each annual Session, 2 months. All the 3 Chambers shall open and shall close simultaneously.
XXXV. The Opening of the Sessions shall annually take place in the presence of the President of the Republic, the Vice-President, and the Ministers of State.
XXXVI. The Sittings shall be public, and only such business of the State as requires secresy shall be discussed with closed doors.
XXXVII. The business in each Chamber shall be determined by the absolute Majority of Votes of the Members present.
XXXVIII. Official Persons who are named Deputies for the Legislative Body, shall, in the interim, be replaced in the exercise of their employments by other individuals.
XXXIX. The restrictions upon the Legislative Body are:
- No Sitting can be held in any of the Chambers, without there be present the two-thirds parts of the respective Members composing them: and the absentees must be compelled to attend and fulfil their duties.
- No one of the Chambers can initiate or introduce a Bill (Projecto de Ley) connected with affairs committed by the Constitution to another Chamber; but it may invite the others to take under their consideration the motions which they refer to them.
- Upon an extraordinary union of the Chambers, they can discuss no other subjects than those for which they were convoked by the President of the Republic, or those which that authority shall lay before them.
- No Member of the Chambers can obtain during the period of his deputation, any promotion except the graduated one attached to his profession.
XL. The Chambers shall unite:
- At the opening and closing of its Sessions.
- For the purpose of examining the conduct of the Ministry, when the latter is impeached by the Chamber of Censors.
- To revise the laws returned to them by the Executive Power.
- When required to unite, upon sufficient grounds, by any one of the Chambers, as in the case, for instance, of Art. XXX, power 3rd.
- For the purpose of confirming the Vice-President in the office of President.
XLI. Whenever the Chambers are united, one of their Presidents shall preside in turn.
The union shall take place in the Chamber of Censors, in which also the Presidency shall commence.
Chapter II.—Of the Chamber of Tribunes.Edit
XLII. To be a Tribune are required:
- The same qualifications as for an Elector.
- To be born in Bolivia, or to have resided within it for 6 years.
- The not having ever been condemned as a criminal.
- To be 25 years of age.
XLIII. The Chamber of Tribunes has the initiative:
- In the settlement of the territorial division of the Republic.
- In the annual taxes and public expenses.
- In authorizing the Executive Power to negotiate loans and adopt the necessary means for liquidating the Public Debt.
- In the value, type, alloy, weight, and denomination of the coin; and in the regulation of weights and measures.
- In making every class of ports free.
- In constructing roads, highways, bridges, and public edifices, and in improving the police and every branch of industry.
- In fixing the salaries of persons employed in the State.
- In the reforms which they consider necessary in the Finance and War departments.
- In making war or peace, on the proposition of the Government.
- In alliances.
- In granting a passage to foreign troops.
- In fixing the armed naval and military force for the service of the current year, on the proposition of the Government.
- In issuing ordinances and regulations for the Navy, the Army, and the Militia, on the proposition of the Government.
- In foreign affairs.
- In granting letters of naturalization and citizenship.
- In granting general pardons.
XLIV. The Chamber of Tribunes shall be renewed every 2 years, in the proposition of one-half, and its duration shall be for 4 years. In the first Legislature, the half which is to be renewed at the end of the 2 years, shall be determined by lot.
XLV. The Tribunes may be re-elected.
Chapter III.—Of the Chamber of Senators.Edit
XLVI. To be a Senator it is necessary to possess:
- The qualifications required for Tribunes.
- The age of 30 years, completed.