Guatemala is a constitutionally democratic country with a unicameral parliament. The parliament comprises of 158 members, who are elected every 4 years. The president is the head of the country and is voted for a single term of four years by universal suffrage.
Major political parties in the country are:
- FRG - Frente Republicano Guatemalteco
- PAN – Partido de Avanzada Nacional GANA – Gran Alianza para una Nueva Nacion
- GANA – Gran Alianza para una Nueva Nacion
- PP – Partido Patriota
- UNE – Unidad Nacional de Esperanza
- EG – Encuentro por Guatemala
- URNG – Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca
- CASA - Centro de Acción Social
- UCN – Union del Cambio Nacional
- UD – Union Democrática
- PU – Partido Unionista
Regulatory environment in Guatemala
The government in Guatemala is based on a democratic republic framework, which means that the head of the state is the representative of the people, chosen by the people and is bound to govern by the constitutional law.
The country’s economic freedom score is 61.9, making its economy the 79th freest in the 2011 Index. Guatemala ranks 17th out of 29 regional countries in South and Central America. Additonally, Guatemala’s overall score is well above the global and regional averages.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Guatemala is ranked 91st on 2010 index, which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments in the country is fairly high.
Guatemala has slipped on the CPI rankings since 2009 when it was ranked 84th with a score of 3.4, which indicates the perceived levels of corruption have decreased in the country.
Freedom of information
Guatemala's constitution safeguards the freedom of press and hence newspapers can liberally criticise the government. That being said, the reporters have to face anonymous threats, especially the ones who expose corruption in the country.
Media in the country is dominated by the private players. TV broadcasting is under a monopoly, since four of the national TV channels are shared by the same owner.
Guatemala is ranked 77th on World Press Freedom Index 2010, with a score of 20.25, which indicates that media in Guatemala is restricted.
- Prensa Libre - daily
- La Hora - private daily
- elPeriodico - private daily
- Siglo Veintiuno - daily
- Canal 3 - commercial
- Teleonce (Canal 11) - commercial
- Televisiete (Canal 7) - commercial
- Trecevision (Canal 13) - commercial
- La Voz de Guatemala - government-owned
- Radio Cultural TGN - private, religious/cultural, broadcasts in Spanish, English and indigenous languages
- Radio Sonora - news and talk station
- Inforpress Centroamericana - private
The constitution of Guatemala establishes a collateral judicial system responsible for administering autonomy and with the authority to deliver justice in pursuit of peace and communal harmony. Additonally, all the magistrates and judges have independence in performing their duties.
Courts in Guatemala are based according ab hierarchy with the Supreme Court of the nation being the highest court, adjudicating throughout the country. After whcih, there are the Court of Appeals and other collegial courts, finally followed by the lower courts.
The Supreme Court consists of thirteen judges, who are elected by the congress for a term of five years.
The Supreme Court is made up of three chambers:
- Amparo and Petrial Chamber
- Civil chamber
- Criminal division
Each chamber is comprised of a chairman who is elected by the President of the Supreme Court. The President of the Supreme Court also heads judiciary in the country. Also there is a secretariat of the Supreme Court who assists in the implementation of the decisions made by the court, processing court records and distributing the work of judges.