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REPUBLIC OF CUBA
1940 CONSTITUTION

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TITLE IX
Concerning the Legislative Power

FIRST SECTION
Concerning the Colegislative Bodies

ART. 119. The legislative power is exercised by two bodies called respectively the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, and which together receive the name of the Congress.

SECOND SECTION
Concerning the Senate, Its Composition, and Its Powers and Duties 

ART. 120. The Senate is composed of nine Senators per Province, elected in each case for a term of four years by universal, equal, direct, secret suffrage, in a single day, and in the form that the law may prescribe.  

ART. 121. To be a Senator it is necessary:

1st. To be Cuban by birth.

2nd. To have reached thirty years of age.

3rd. To be in full enjoyment of civil and political rights.

4th. Not to have belonged to the armed forces of the Republic in active service during the two years immediately prior to the date of his designation as candidate.  

ART. 122. The powers and duties of the Senate are:

1st. To judge, being constituted as a tribunal, the President of the Republic when the latter shall have been accused by the Chamber of Representatives of a crime against the external security of the State, the free functioning of the legislative or judicial powers, or for a violation of constitutional precepts.

In carrying out this obligation, it shall be mandatory that the accusation formulated by the Chamber of Representatives shall have been approved by two-thirds of its members.

The tribunal constituted for the purposes of this article shall be composed of the members of the Senate and all those of the Supreme Tribunal; and the person who at the time holds the office of president of the latter Tribunal shall preside.

2nd. To judge, being constituted as a tribunal, the Ministers of the Government, when the latter shall have been accused by the Chamber of Representatives of a crime against the external security of the State, the free functioning of the legislative or judicial powers, or of a violation of the provisions of the Constitution, as well as of any other crime of a political character that the law may determine.

3rd. To judge, being constituted as a tribunal, the governors of the Provinces when they shall have been accused by the provincial council by the President of the Republic with the approval of the Council of Ministers, of any of the crimes cited in the preceding clause.

In all cases in which the Senate is constitute as a tribunal, the president of the Supreme Tribunal shall preside. No penalty may be imposed upon those accused other than that of dismissal from office, or that of deprivation of office and disqualification from the exercise of public offices, without prejudice to the ordinary tribunals, which may impose any other penalty that such accused persons may have incurred.

4th. To approve the nominations that the President of the Republic, with the aid of the Council of Ministers, may make for the chiefs of permanent diplomatic missions and for other officials, the appointment of which may require the approval of the Senate according to the law.

5th. To approve the appointment of members of the tribunal of accounts of the State.

6th. To appoint committees of investigation. These shall have the number of members the Senate may determine, and shad! have the right to subpoena private individuals as well as officials and authorities to attend to give information before them, and the right to request data and documents that they may consider necessary for the purposes of the investigation.

Tribunals of justice, administrative authorities, and private individuals have the obligation of furnishing committees of investigation with all the data and documents asked of them. If the investigation is concerned with activities of the Government, a favorable vote of two-thirds of the members of the Senate is required to establish these committees. In other cases, a vote of one-half plus one shall be sufficient.

7th. To authorize Cubans to serve a foreign country in a military capacity, or accept from another government employment or honors that may imply authority or jurisdiction of their own.

8th. To approve treaties that the President of the Republic may negotiate with other Nations.

9th. To require the appearance of Ministers of Government to answer interpellations that may have a definite object, in accordance with the Constitution.

10th. The other powers emanating from this Constitution.

THIRD SECTION
Concerning the Chancier of Representatives, Its Composition, and Powers and Duties 

ART. 123. The Chamber of Representatives shall be composed of one Representative for every 35,000 inhabitants or fraction greater than 17,500. Representatives shall be elected by Provinces for a term of four years by universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage, in a single day, and in the form that the law may prescribe. The law shall determine the numerical basis of proportionality in each Province, in accordance with the latest official national census of population.

The Chamber of Representatives shall be renewed by halves every two years.  

ART. 124. To be a Representative it is necessary:

1st. To be Cuban by birth or by naturalization, and in the latter case with ten years' continuous residence in the Republic, counted from the date of naturalization.

2nd. To have reached twenty-one years of age.

3rd. To be in full enjoyment of civil and political rights.

4th. Not to have belonged to the armed forces of the Republic in active service during the two years immediately prior to the date of his designation as candidate.  

ART. 125. It is within the jurisdiction of the Chamber of Representatives:

1st. To accuse the President of the Republic and the Ministers of Government in the cases determined in Clauses (a) and (b) [i.e., 1st and 2nd Clauses] of Article 122 before the Senate when two-thirds of the total number of Representatives approve the accusation in secret session.

2nd. To have priority in the discussion and approval of the general budgets of the Nation.

3rd. To have all other powers that may be granted by this Constitution.

FOURTH SECTION
Provisions Color to the Co legislative Bodies 

ART. 126. The offices of Senator and Representative are incompatible with any other office paid as a charge upon the State, Province, or municipality, or upon agencies maintained wholly or partially by public funds, with the exception of the office of Minister of Government and that of professor in an official establishment, obtained prior to the election.

The members of the legislative branch may be appointed as Ministers of Government, but in no case may more than half of the members of the Council of Ministers hold both offices.

Senators and Representatives shall receive from the State a stipend that shall be equal for both offices. The amount of this stipend may be altered at any time, but the change may not take effect until the co legislative bodies have been renewed.  

ART. 127. Senators and Representatives shall be inviolable for the opinions and votes that they may register in the exercise of their offices.

Senators and Representatives shall not be arrested or prosecuted, except with the authorization of the body to which they belong. If the Senate or Chamber of Representatives should not decide upon the requested authorization within forty consecutive days after the opening of the Legislature and after receiving a writ from a judge or tribunal, the authorization for instituting proceedings and subjecting the Senator or Representative to the same shall be understood to be granted. The case shall not be prosecuted if the body to which the legislator belongs refuses authorization to continue the proceedings.

In case of being apprehended in flagrant delicto in the commission of a crime, a legislator may be arrested without the authorization of the hotly to which he belongs. In this case and in that of a legislator being arrested or prosecuted when the Congress is not in session, notice shall immediately be given to the president of the respective body, who must immediately call the co legislative body concerned into extraordinary session to decide exclusively upon the authorization requested by the judge or tribunal. If the request shall not be refused within the twenty ordinary sessions counted from the date of this notification, the authorization shall be understood to be granted.

Any agreement granting or refusing the request for authorization to prosecute or arrest a member of the Congress must be preceded by a reading of the antecedent events, that shall be the basis for the decisions that the respective co legislative body may adopt.  

ART. 128. The Senate and the Chamber of Representatives shall open and close their sessions on the same day, shall reside in the same city, and may not be moved to any other place, and their sessions may not be suspended for more than three days except with the agreement of both.

A legislative term may not be opened or go into session without the presence of one-half plus one of the total of members of each body. Verification of the quorum shall be made by roll call.

Parliamentary immunity does not include or protect acts that may be related to the veracity and legitimacy of the records or to the formalities prescribed for the approval of laws.

Laws in all cases must be previously subjected to a roll call in their entirety.

No bill may be voted upon by a co legislative body without at least a prior consultative report of a committee of that body.  

ART. 129. Each legislative body shall decide upon the validity of the election of its respective members and upon the resignations that they may present. No Senator or Representative may be expelled from the body to which he belongs except by virtue of cause previously determined, and with the approval of at least two-thirds of the total number of its members.

Each legislative body shall formulate its own by-laws and elect its president, vice-presidents, and secretaries from among its own members. The president of the Senate shall preside over sessions only in the absence of the Vice-President of the Republic.

ART. 130. No Senator or Representative may hold properties of the State by rent, directly or indirectly, or obtain contracts or concessions of any kind from the latter.

Likewise, no Senator or Representative may hold a position as legal consultant or director or any office that may imply jurisdiction, or in an enterprise that is foreign, or the business of which may be linked in any way to a foreign organization.  

ART. 131. The relations between the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives not foreseen in this Constitution shall be governed by the law on relations between co legislative bodies. An appeal on grounds of unconstitutionality shall be open against any agreement that may violate the said law.  

FIFTH SECTION
Concerning the Congress and Its Powers and Duties 

ART. 132. The Congress shall be assembled twice a year in its own right and without the necessity of an order of convocation. The Congress shall function not less than sixty working days in each one of the legislative terms, and not more than 140 days in both legislative terms. One legislative term shall commence on the third Monday of September and the other on the third Monday of March.

The Senate and the Chamber of Representatives shall be assembled in extraordinary sessions in the cases and in the manner that their by-laws may determine or the Constitution and the law may establish, and when the President of the Republic convokes them in conformity with this Constitution. In such cases they shall occupy themselves exclusively with the matter or matters that provided the reason for their assembly.  

ART. 133. The Senate and the Chamber of Representatives shall be assembled into one single body in order:

1st. To proclaim the President and [lice-President of the Republic, in view of the respective certificate of inspection transmitted by the superior electoral tribunal.

If this certificate should indicate a tie between two or more candidates, the Congress shall proceed to the selection of the President from the candidates who have received the tie in the general election.

If the Congress also should register a tie, the ballot shall be repeated; if the result of the latter is still the same, the vote of the president shall decide.

The procedure established in the preceding paragraphs shall be applicable to the Vice-President of the Republic.

2nd. To exercise jurisdiction in other cases that the law of relations between the two co legislative bodies may establish.

When the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives are assembled in one single body, the president of the Senate shall preside in his capacity as president of the Congress; and, in his absence or disability, the president of the Chamber of Representatives shall preside as vice-president of the same Congress.  

ART. 134. Powers of the Congress that may not be delegated are:

1st. To enact codes and laws of a general character; to determine the system of the elections; to enact provisions relative to general, provincial, and municipal administration; and to approve other laws and resolutions that it may consider desirable upon any other matters of public interest, or that may be necessary to put this Constitution into effect.

2nd. To establish the taxes and imposts of a national character that may be necessary for the upkeep of the State.

3rd. To discuss and approve the budgets of expenditure and income of the State.

4th. To decide upon the annual reports that the tribunal of accounts may present concerning the settlement of the budgets, the state of the public debt and the national currency.

5th. To approve loans, but with the obligation, at the same time, of voting the permanent revenues necessary for the payment of interest and amortization.

6th. To resolve what is necessary for the coining of money, determining it; standard, fineness, value, and denomination, and to decide what it may consider necessary regarding the issuance of fiduciary notes, and upon the banking and financial system.

7th. To regulate the system of weights and measures.

8th. To enact provisions for the regulation and promotion of internal and foreign commerce, for agriculture and industry, insurance of labor and off age, maternity, and employment.

9th. To regulate the communication services, providing for the administration of the railways, highways, canals' and ports, and for transit by way of land, air, and sea, creating whatever the public convenience may require for this purpose.

10th. To fix rules and procedures for obtaining naturalization, and to regulate the supervision of aliens.

11th. To grant amnesty in accordance with this Constitution.

Amnesty for common crimes may be granted only by the favorable vote of two-thirds of the total of each one of the co legislative bodies, and ratified by the same number of votes in the following legislative session.

Amnesty for political crimes also requires the same extraordinary vote if homicide or assassination should be committed in relation with the same.

12th. To fix the quotas of the armed forces and approve their organization.

13th. To grant or refuse its confidence to the Council of Ministers, or to any of its members, in the form and on the occasions that this Constitution may determine.

14th. To subpoena the Council of Ministers, or any of its members, to answer interpellations that may be formulated for them. The summons must be made by each co legislative body with previous notification to the President of the Republic and to the Prime Minister, ten days in advance, indicating the business with which the interpellation shall deal.

The subpoenaed Minister may be accompanied, when required to answer an interpellation or give a report on a bill, by counselors whom he may designate, but these counselors shall be limited to presenting the technical information that the Minister being interpolated or giving the report may indicate.

15th. To declare war, and to approve treaties of peace that the President of the Republic may have negotiated.

16th. To approve all the laws for which this Constitution provides, and those laws that may arise in the development of the principles contained in the standards of this Constitution.

SIXTH SECTION
Concerning the Initiative and Formation of Laws, Their Sanction and Promulgation 

ART. 135. Legislative initiative belongs:

1st. To the Senators and Representatives, in accordance with the regulatory provisions of each body.

2nd. To the Government.

3rd. To the Supreme Tribunal, in matters relative to the administration of justice.

4th. To the superior electoral tribunal, in matters within its competence.

5th. To the tribunal of accounts, in matters of its competence anal jurisdiction.

6th. To the citizens. In this case, it shall be unalterably necessary that 10,000 citizens having status as voters shall be required to exercise this initiative. Every legislative initiative shall be formulates! a proposition of law, and shall be sent to one of the co legislative bodies.

ART. 136. Laws as classified as ordinary and extraordinary.

Extraordinary laws are those that are indicated as such in the Constitution, the organic laws, and any others to which the Congress may give this character. All other laws are ordinary.

Extraordinary laws require for their approval the favorable votes of one-half plus one of the members of each co legislative body. The ordinary laws shall require the favorable votes of only an absolute majority of the members present in the session at which they may be approved.  

ART. 137. A bill that obtains the approval of both co legislative bodies must be presented to the President of the Republic by the body that granted the final approval, within ten clays following the said approval. The President of the Republic shall, within ten days after having received the bill, and after it has been approved by the Council of Ministers, sanction and promulgate the law, or return it, with the objections he may consider fitting, to the co legislative body from which it came. On receiving the bill, the said body shall officially take note of the objections and shall proceed with a next discussion of the bill.

If, after this discussion, two-thirds of the total of members of the co legislative body should vote in favor of the bill, it shall be passed, with the objections of the President, to the other body, which also shall discuss it, and, if the latter body also should approve it by an equal majority, it shall be law.

In all these cases the voting shall be by roll call.

If, within the ten working days after the transmission of the bill to the President of the Republic, he should not return it, it shall stand as sanctioned, and shall be law.

If, within the last ten days of a legislative session, a bill is presented to the President of the Republic, and he should propose to utilize the entire period that is allowed him in the preceding paragraph for the purpose of sanction, he shall communicate his intention, within a period of forty-eight hours, to the Congress, in order that the latter may remain assembled, if it so desires, until the expiration of the expressed period. If the President does not do so, the bill shall stand as sanctioned, and shall be law.

No bill that has been totally rejected by either of the co legislative bodies may be discussed anew in the same legislative session.

A bill approved by one of the co legislative bodies shall be discussed and decided by the other and shall have preference therein. This provision does not apply to extraordinary laws.

Every law shall be promulgated within the ten days following that of its sanction.

TITLE X   1940 Constitution


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