Flag of Colombia

Colombia Government Profile 2014

Home > Factbook > Countries > Colombia

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia
local short form: Colombia
Government typerepublic; executive branch dominates government structure
Capitalname: Bogota
geographic coordinates: 4 36 N, 74 05 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, Archipielago de San Andres, Providencia y Santa Catalina (colloquially San Andres y Providencia), Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada
Independence20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National holidayIndependence Day, 20 July (1810)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest promulgated 5 July 1991; amended many times, last in 2011 (2013)
Legal systemcivil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 30 May 2010 with a runoff election 20 June 2010 (next to be held on 25 May 2014)
election results: Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon elected president in runoff election; percent of vote - Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon 69.06%, Antanas MOCKUS 27.52%
Legislative branchbicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - U Party 21, PC 19, CD 19, PL 17, CR 9, PDA 5, Green Party 5, other parties 7; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - U Party 39, PL 37, PC 27, CR 16, CD 12, Green Party 6, PDA 3, other parties 26
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 27 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Congress from candidates submitted by the president; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court magistrates - 3 nominated by the president, 3 by the Supreme Court, and 3 elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 2-8 year terms
subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts
Political parties and leadersAlternative Democratic Pole or PDA [Clara LOPEZ]
Conservative Party or PC [Omar YEPES Alzate]
Democratic Center Party or CD [Alvaro URIBE Velez]
Green Party [Alfonso PRADA]
Liberal Party or PL [Simon GAVIRIA Munoz]
National Integration Party or PIN [Angel ALIRIO Moreno]
Radical Change or CR [Carlos Fernando GALAN]
Social National Unity Party or U Party [Sergio Diaz GANADOS]
note: Colombia has seven major political parties, and numerous smaller movements
Political pressure groups and leadersCentral Union of Workers or CUT
Colombian Confederation of Workers or CTC
General Confederation of Workers or CGT
National Liberation Army or ELN
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC
note: FARC and ELN are the two largest insurgent groups active in Colombia
International organization participationBCIE, BIS, CAN, Caricom (observer), CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-3, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Pacific Alliance, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Luis Carlos VILLEGAS Echeverri (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-8338
FAX: [1] (202) 232-8643
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Beverly Hills (CA), Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Newark (NJ)
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Benjamin ZIFF
embassy: Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50, Bogota, D.C.
mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogota, D.C.
telephone: [57] (1) 275-2000
FAX: [57] (1) 275-4600
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue, and red; the flag retains the three main colors of the banner of Gran Colombia, the short-lived South American republic that broke up in 1830; various interpretations of the colors exist and include: yellow for the gold in Colombia's land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in attaining freedom; alternatively, the colors have been described as representing more elemental concepts such as sovereignty and justice (yellow), loyalty and vigilance (blue), and valor and generosity (red); or simply the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity
note: similar to the flag of Ecuador, which is longer and bears the Ecuadorian coat of arms superimposed in the center
National anthemname: "Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)
lyrics/music: Rafael NUNEZ/Oreste SINDICI
note: adopted 1920; the anthem was created from an inspirational poem written by President Rafael NUNEZ

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on June 30, 2015

Government Comparison