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The government building of the National Congress of Bolivia at the Plaza Murillo in central La Paz

The National Congress (Spanish: Congreso Nacional) is the national legislature of Bolivia, based in the nation's de facto capital, La Paz.

The National Congress is bicameral, consisting of a lower house (the Chamber of Deputies or Cámara de Diputados) and an upper house (the Senate, or Cámara de Senadores).

The Senate has 27 seats. Each of the country's nine departments returns three senators: two from the party or formula that receives the most votes, with the third senator representing the second-placed party. Senators are elected from party lists to serve five-year terms, and the minimum age to hold a Senate seat is 35 years.

The Chamber of Deputies comprises 130 seats: 68 deputies are directly elected to represent single-member electoral districts, and an additional 62 are elected by proportional representation from party lists on a departmental basis. Deputies also serve five-year terms, and must be aged at least 25 on the day of the election. For the 2005 general election, seats were reapportioned, making 70 single-member electoral districts (60 are elected by proportional representation).


2002–2005 Congress

Congressional elections were held on 30 June 2002. After the votes were counted, party strengths in Congress were as follows:

Summary of the 30 June 2002 National Congress of Bolivia election results
Parties Deputies Senators
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, MNR) 36 11
Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) 27 8
Movement of Revolutionary Left (Movimiento Izquierda Revolucionaria, MIR) 26 5
New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana, NFR) 25 2
Nationalist Democratic Action (Acción Democrática Nacionalista, ADN) 4 1
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti, MIP) 6 0
Citizens' Solidarity Union (Unión Cívica Solidaridad, UCS) 5 0
Socialist Party (Partido Socialista, PS) 1 0
Total 130 27

The next election was scheduled to take place in June 2007, but was brought forward to December 2005 on a decision from interim President Eduardo Rodríguez.

2005–2010 Congress

Congressional elections were held on 18 December 2005, concurrently with the 2005 presidential election. —

e • d  Summary of the 18 December 2005 National Congress of Bolivia election results
Parties Votes % Deputies Senators
Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo) 1,544,374 53.7 72 12
Social and Democratic Power (Poder Democrático y Social, PODEMOS) 821,745 28.6 43 13
National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional) 224,090 7.8 8 1
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario) 185,859 6.5 7 1
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti) 61,948 2.2 - -
New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana) 19,667 0.7 - -
Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia (Frente Patriótico Agropecuario de Bolivia) 8,737 0.3 - -
Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia (Unión Social de los Trabajadores de Bolivia) 7,381 0.3 - -
Total (turnout: 84.534 %) 2,873,801 100.0 130 27
Null votes 104,570 3.4
Blank votes 124,027 3.0
Total votes 3,102,417 100.0
Registered voters 3,671,152
Source: CNE and Rulers


Government Palace of Bolivia in downtown La Paz.

The two chambers of Congress meet in the legislative palace located on Plaza Murillo, La Paz's main city-centre square. Plaza Murillo is also flanked by the presidential palace (informally known as the Palacio Quemado – the "Burnt Palace" – on account of repeated attempts to raze it to the ground in the 19th century) and the cathedral of Nuestra Señora de La Paz. Prior to becoming the seat of the legislature in 1904, the congress building had, at different times, housed a convent and a university.

The Vice-President, in his capacity as President of Congress, has an imposing suite of offices on Calle Mercado in central La Paz. The building, designed by Emilio Villanueva, was erected during the 1920s and was originally intended to serve as the headquarters of Bolivia's central bank (Banco de la Nación Boliviana). Under Jaime Paz Zamora's 1989–1993 presidency, the building was reassigned to the vice-presidency, but the vice-presidential staff did not relocate entirely until major reconstruction and renovation work, starting in 1997, had been carried out. The Library of Congress and the National Congressional Archive are also located on the premises.

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