Constitution and Government.
The present Constitution of Mexico bears date February 5, 1857, with subsequent modifications down to May 1896. By its terms Mexico is declared a federative republic, divided into States — 19 at the outset, but at present 27 in number, with 2 territories and the Federal District — each of which has a right to managre its own local affairs, while the whole are bound together in one body politic by fundamental and constitutional laws. The powers of the supreme Government are divided into three branches, the legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative power is vested in a Congress consisting of a House of Representatives and a Senate, and the executive in a President. Representatives elected by the suffrage of all respectable male adults, at the rate of one member for 40,000 inhabitants, hold their places for two years. The qualifications requisite are, to be twenty-five years of age, and a resident in the State. The Senate consists of fifty- six members, two for each State, of at least thirty years of age, who are returned in the same manner as the deputies. The members of both Houses receive salaries of 3,000 dollars a year. The President is elected by electors popularly chosen in a general election, holds office for four years, and, according to an amend- ment of the Constitution in 1887, may be elected for consecutive terms. Failing the President through absence or otherwise, whether the disability be temporary or permanent. Congress has power to elect an acting-president who shall discharge the functions of President temporarily or, if necessary, to the end of the constitutional period. Congress has to meet annually from Ai)ril 1 to May 30, and from September 16 to December 15, and a permanent committee of both Houses sits during the recesses.
President of the Repuhlic. — General D. Porfirio Diaz; first elected in 1876 ; present term (the fifth), December 1, 1896, to November 30, 1900.
The administration is carried on, under the direction of the President and a Council, by seven Secretaries of State, heads of the Departments of : — 1, Foreign Affairs ; 2. Interior; 3. Justice and Public Instruction ; 4. Fomento, Colonisation and Industry. 5. Communications and Public Works \ 6. Finance and Public Credit. 7. War and Marine