Chargé Snyder to the Secretary of State.

No. 69.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copy and translation of a general act additional and reformatory of the national constitution passed by the national assembly of Colombia during its sessions of the present year.

I am, etc.,

Alban G. Snyder.

A general act additional and reformatory of the national constitution.

In the name of God, the Supreme Fountain of all authority.

The members of the national constitutional and legislative assembly for the departments of Antioquia, Bolivar, Boyaca, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Nariño Santander, and Tolima;

Considering Decree No. 29 of February 1, 1905, by which a national assembly is convoked and the various drafts of acts reforming the national constitution presented by the executive government during the sessions of the national assembly and agreed to by this body;

And in order to unite all the partial acts of constitutional reformation into one sole act or official instrument, we have decided to compile and sign said reform in the present general act, adding to and reforming the national constitution as follows:

Reformatory act No. 1 of March 27, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The magistrates of the supreme court of justice will serve for a term of five years, and the judges of the superior tribunals of the judicial district will serve four years.
  • Art. 2. The first term of the supreme court judges will commence on May 1st of the present year, and that of the judges of the district supreme tribunals from the 1st of June of the present year.
  • Paragraph. Said magistrates may be elected indefinitely.
  • Art. 3 (transitory). The first time, the President of the Republic will appoint, at his discretion, the judges of the supreme court and of the superior tribunals, and shall submit their appointments for the approbation of the Senate.

Reformatory act No. 2 of March 28, 1905.

  • Art. 1. Hereafter the legislative bodies shall meet in ordinary sessions of their own right in the capital of the Republic every two years, on the 1st day of February.
  • Art. 2. The ordinary sessions shall last for ninety days, upon the conclusion of which the government shall declare the sessions closed.
  • Art. 3. After the passage of this reformatory act the first constitutional Congress will meet on February 1, 1908, which will be the initial date for the subsequent meetings of said body.
  • Art. 4 (transitory). In the meantime, until the meeting of the first Congress treated of in the preceding article the present national assembly shall continue to exercise the legislative functions in extraordinary sessions, which the constitution gives to Congress and the Senate and Chamber of Representatives separately.
  • Art. 5 (transitory). Before the date of meeting of the first constitutional Congress the national assembly shall again exercise its legislative functions, when the government may convene it in extraordinary sessions.

Reformatory act No. 3 of March 30, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The law will change the territorial division of the whole Republic by forming the number of departments that may be deemed proper for the public administration.
  • Art. 2. It will also separate municipal districts from existing departments or from those which may be formed, in order to organize or administer them according to special laws.
  • Art. 3. The law-making body will determine the population which is to correspond to each department in the new territorial divisions. It will distribute among them the property and charges and will determine the number of senators and representatives and also the manner of electing them.
  • Art. 4. Articles 5, 6, and 76 of the constitution are hereby reformed.
[Page 254]

Reformatory act No. 4 of March 30, 1905.

Sole article. Let article 204 of the constitution be abolished.

Reformatory act No. 5 of March 30, 1905.

  • Art. 1. Upon the passage of this act the offices of Vice-President of the Republic and “designado” to exercise the executive power are abolished.
  • Art. 2. In case of temporary absence of the President the minister whom he may designate shall replace him, and in the absence of ministers on whom this designation may fall the governor of the department nearest to the capital of the Republic will be charged with the executive power.
  • Art. 3. In case of vacancy of the Presidency the minister whom the cabinet by a clear majority may elect shall be substituted for him, and if the minister should be absent then the governor of the department nearest the capital of the Republic.
    Whoever is in charge of the executive power shall immediately call the national assembly, and, after the termination of the sessions of this body, the Congress, in order that it may proceed to elect the citizen to replace the President for the unexpired term within the 60 days following.
    When only a year or less remains of the unexpired term, whoever is exercising the executive power shall continue to the expiration of the term, calling the election for President according to the constitution.
    If, from whatever cause, the minister who may have been made acting President is absent, the cabinet shall proceed to make a new selection.
    The citizen provisionally occupying the Presidency according to Article 3 of this act can not be elected by the national assembly or Congress for the remainder of the term.
    The person exercising the functions of President in the last six months preceding the election of the new President likewise can not be elected for this office.
  • Art. 4. The only absolute vacancy of the Presidency is through the death of the President or his accepted resignation.
  • Art. 5. The present Presidential period, only good during the administration of General Reyes, shall be ten years, from January 1, 1905, to December 31, 1914.
  • In case General Reyes has occupied the Presidency during his full term, the term of the one who regularly succeeds him shall be four years, and this shall be the term of all subsequent administrations.
  • Art. 6. Articles 74, 102, 108, 114, 120 (ordinal 9), 127, 136, and 174 of the constitution are hereby reformed, and Articles 77, 124, 125,128, 129, 130, and 131 of the same, and any others whatever contrary to the present reformatory act, are abolished.

Reformatory act No. 6 of April 5, 1905.

Sole article. In times of peace no one shall be deprived of his property, in whole or in part, except in the following cases and according to the following expressed conditions:

For general contribution.

For motives of general utility denned by the legislature, a previous indemnization having been made, except in the opening and construction of lines of communication, in which cases it is supposed that the general benefit accruing to the lands involved balances the value of the strip of land necessary for the road; but if it shall be proved that said strip is worth more, then the difference shall be paid.

Reformatory act No. 7 of April 8, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The departmental assemblies are charged with the direction and fostering of the primary instruction and charitable undertakings by means of ordinances and the resources of the department itself; the established industries or those to be established; the colonization of the public lands pertinent to the department; the opening up of roads and navigable canals and the working of the forests within the department; the management of the local police and the jails of the judicial circuit; the management of the revenues and expenditures of the department and municipalities and all appertaining to the internal progress.
  • Art. 2. Article 186 of the constitution is hereby replaced by the present reformatory act.

Reformatory act No. 8 of April 13, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The Senate and House of Representatives shall be reelected at the same time.
  • Art. 2. The senators shall be elected by the department councils according as the law may determine.
  • Art. 3. The President of the Republic and the representatives shall be elected in the manner prescribed by law.
  • Art. 4. In every popular election which may have for its object the election of public corporations and in the naming of senators the right of representation of minorities will be recognized, and the law shall determine the manner and terms for carrying this into effect.
  • Art. 5. Articles 95, 114, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, and 178 of the constitution are hereby repealed.

Reformatory act No. 9 of April 17, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The constitution of the Republic can be reformed by a national assembly called by Congress expressly for this object, or by the executive government through previous petition from a majority of the municipalities.
  • Paragraph. In regard to the calling of the national assembly referred to in this article, the reforms to be treated of shall be set down and the body shall dedicate its attention thereto.
  • Art. 2. The assembly treated of in the foregoing article shall be composed of as many representatives as the population is entitled to—namely, in the proportion of one member for each 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Paragraph. Each deputy shall have two alternates.
  • Art. 3. The principal deputies and alternates shall be elected by the municipalities of the respective electoral districts.
  • Art. 4. For the ratification of the reform it is sufficient that it be discussed and approved according to the provisions for enacting laws.
  • Art. 5. The sessions of the assembly shall last 30 days, but may be prolonged in the judgment of the government.
  • Art. 6. When necessary to call the national assembly, the constitutional period of the Congress elected before shall cease, and the national assembly shall exercise its legislative functions from the time of its installation until the end of the constitutional period of the Congress which it has replaced.
  • Art. 7. The legal provisions already provided for the representation of the minorities shall govern in the elections for deputies for the national assembly.
  • Art. 8. If it should be necessary to introduce new reforms to the constitution in accordance with the provisions of this law, in the time between the closing of this national assembly and the meeting of the regular Congress in 1908, the present assembly will be called by the executive power to adopt such reforms without the necessity of a previous petition from the municipalities.

Reformatory act No. 10 of April 27, 1905.

  • Art. 1. The council of state is abolished. The law will determine the employees who must comply with the duties and functions relating to this body.
  • Art. 2. Title XIII of the national constitution is abolished.
  • Art. 3. This law shall take effect from its publication in the Diario Oficial.

Bogotá, April 30, 1905.

The president of the national constitutional and legislative assembly, deputy for the Department of Tolima, Enrique Restrepo Garcia, the first vice-president of the, etc.

National Executive Power, Bogotá, April 30, 1905.

Let it be complied with and executed.

R. Reyes.

The minister of government, Bonifacio Vélez; the minister for foreign affairs, Climaco Calderón, etc.