Argentina is a large country in South America which is bordered by Chile (west), Bolivia and Paraguay (north), Brazil (northeast), Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean (east), and the Drake Passage (south). The country covers an area of 1,073,500 square miles, making it the eighth-largest country in the world, as well as the fourth largest in the Americas and the largest Spanish-speaking nation globally. Argentina is divided into twenty-three provinces plus one autonomous city – Buenos Aires – which is the capital of the nation. Argentina claims sovereignty over other regions, incluing part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Argentina is considered a middle power in regard to international affairs, and is a primary regional power in South America – it also has the second largest economy in South America and the third-largest in Latin America. Argentina is a member of the G-15 and G-20 major economies, and is also a founding member of several international organisations including the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States. Argentina has the second-highest Human Development Index in Latin America.
How is government structured?
The government of Argentina is a democratic system divided into three branches: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary.
The National Congress is essentially the legislative branch of the government – it is made up of the Senate (72 seats), which is overseen by the Vice-President, and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats), currently presided-over by the deputy for the Buenos Aires province. In the Argentine governmental system, senators hold their posts for six years, while deputies remain in office for four.
Senators and deputies are elected to the National Congress from each of the provinces in the country, as well as from Buenos Aires, which is an autonomous city. Senators represent their districts, while deputies speak for the people of Argentina as a whole. Deputies are elected in proportion to the size of the province they represent, while each province nominates just three senators (two for the majority, one for the minority). Re-elections for each chamber of government are permitted as many re-elections as they require.
The 24 electoral districts elect one half of their lower chamber representatives every two years; senators are also elected every two years, with districts grouped into three sets of eight, one of which nominates all three senators (two majority, one minority). After six years, the same group of eight districts holds its next round of senatorial elections.
Each province (with the exception of Buenos Aires) is divided into smaller districts called departments, which are in turn divided into municipalities.
Who’s in charge?
The Executive Branch of the Argentinian government is overseen by the Head of State and President (one individual), who is vested with power from the Administration to see to the interests of the country and lead the Government. The Head of State/President also holds the title of Chief of the Argentine Armed Forces.
The President and the Vice President are elected by the population of Argentina through a two-round system – through this system, the President-Vice President who triumphs must claim over 45% of the votes or have at least 40% plus a 10% advantage over the runner-up. The two leading tickets face a second round of voting, with the victor decided by the majority percentage.
The cabinet who serve on the Executive are appointed by the President, though they are not technically included as part of the Executive authority. The Vice President serves as president of the Senate and is thus considered part of the legislative branch.
The current president is Mauricio Macri, who has held office since December 10, 2015; the current Vice President is Gabriela Michetti.
The Judicial Branch
The Judiciary Branch of the Argentine government is made up of a combination of federal judges and others with responsibility for different jurisdictions, as well as a Supreme Court composed of nine members (a President, a Vice-President, and seven Ministers).
All of those who sit on the Supreme Court are appointed at the discretion of the President of the Nation with the approval of the Senate, which can be deposed by the National Congress.