The State of Yaracuy: Introductory Note
Philip RaworthEdited By: Philip Raworth
The State of Yaracuy is located in the central-northern area of Venezuela. It is bordered on the north by the State of Falcón, on the east by the State of Carabobo, on the south by the State of Cojedes and on the west by the State of Lara. It has, according to a 2011 census, a population of 600,852 and covers an area of 7,100 square kilometers (2,700 square miles). The capital is San Felipe, which was founded in 1732 and named after Philip V, the first Bourbon King of Spain.
After independence from Spain, the area that is now Yaracuy was part of the Department of Barquisimeto, which itself was part of the Province of Carabobo. In 1855, the area was recognized as an independent entity under the name of Province of Yaracuy, which was changed in 1864 to that of State of Yaracuy. In 1881, Yaracuy lost its independent status and became part of the State of Occidente. It recovered its independence in 1901, only to lose it again in 1904, when it became part of the State of Lara. In 1909, the independent State of Yaracuy was finally and permanently established.
The following are within the exclusive power of the State:
– the organization of its municipalities and other local entities and its political and territorial division, in conformity with the Constitution of the Republic and the law;
– the Administration of its assets and the investment and administration of its resources, including those coming from transfers, subsidies or special allocations from the National Power, as well those that are assigned to it by way of participation in the national resources;
– the organization, collection, control and administration of its own tax areas in accordance with the national and state laws;
– the regime and exploitation of non-metallic minerals that are not reserved to the National Power, and the administration of the vacant lands within its jurisdiction, in conformity with the law;
– the organization of its police and the determination of the branches of this service to be assigned to the municipal jurisdiction, in conformity with the applicable national legislation;
– the creation, organization, collection, control and administration of the areas of fiscal paper, postage stamps and tax stamps;
– the creation, regime and organization of the State public services;
– the construction, conservation, administration and use of the State roadways;
– the conservation, administration and use of national highways and freeways, as well as commercial ports and airports, in coordination with the National Executive;
– public works of interest to the State;
– the flag, coat of arms and anthem of the State;
– all that does not come, in conformity with the Constitution of the Republic, within the national or municipal jurisdiction.
The following matters are also within the powers of the State of Yaracuy:
– the defense and supreme surveillance of the general interests of the State of Yaracuy;
– the planning of the overall development of the State;
– public sanitation;
– the fostering of science and technology;
– the promotion of comprehensive rural development and that of the living conditions of the rural population;
– the promotion of national and foreign investment;
– the security of citizens and civil defense and protection;
– the State regime of the public services within its jurisdiction, particularly electricity, drinking water and gas;
– in cases of the violation of human rights committed by its authorities and other competent authorities, to see that the perpetrators are punished criminally and civilly;
– to compensate the victims of violations of human rights that may be imputed to it or their beneficiaries, including the payment of damages, and to adopt the legislative or other measures that are necessary to make such compensation effective;
– to adopt the measures that are necessary to comply with the decisions emanating from the international bodies created to deal with petitions and complaints with regard to human rights;
– the protection of the right to life of the persons who are deprived of their liberty under its custody or subject to its authority in any other manner;
– the promotion and facilitation of the right of association;
– protection through the bodies of citizen security regulated by law in the face of situations that constitute a threat, vulnerability or risk for the physical safety of persons, their property, the enjoyment of their rights and the fulfillment of their duties;
– to guarantee the right to investigate maternity and paternity;
– to guarantee the freedom of religion and worship;
– to promote and facilitate the generation of the most favorable conditions for the practice of political participation and public management;
– the protection of the family as a natural association of society and as the fundamental place for the overall development of persons;
– the protection of mothers, fathers or whoever exercises the headship of the family;
– to guarantee comprehensive assistance and protection to pregnant women from the moment of conception, during the pregnancy, the delivery and the perinatal period, and to assure responsible and comprehensive family planning services based on ethical and scientific values;
– to ensure, as an absolute priority, complete protection for children and adolescents, and to promote their progressive incorporation as active citizens;
– to promote, with the supportive participation of families and society, the creation of opportunities for encouraging their productive transit into adult life and, in particular, training and access to a first job, in conformity with the law;
– to guarantee for seniors the full exercise of their rights and guarantees, to respect their human dignity and to guarantee their overall care and the benefits of social security that raise and assure their quality of life;
– to guarantee for handicapped persons or those with special needs the respect of their human dignity and the alignment of opportunities and satisfactory working conditions, and to promote their training and access to employment in accord with their conditions;
– to lend its collaboration pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic for meeting the right to urban and rural housing; and, to this effect, to grant priority to families and to guarantee the means so that these families, and especially those with scarce social resources, accede to credit for the construction, acquisition or extension of dwellings;
– to guarantee the right to the protection of health under the terms set out in the Constitution of the Republic, and to promote and implement policies and the public health service aimed at raising the quality of life, collective wellbeing and access to such services;
– to guarantee the adoption of necessary measures so that every person may obtain a productive occupation that provides for him a decent and respectable existence and guarantees for him the full exercise of this right;
– to adopt measures and create institutions that permit the control and promotion of conditions of adequate labor safety, hygiene and environment;
– to guarantee the equality and equity of men and women in the exercise of the right to work;
– to recognize housework as an economic activity what creates added value and produces wealth and social wellbeing;
– to guarantee the implementation of voluntary collective negotiations and collective labor agreements, and to establish what is necessary to encourage collective relations and the resolution of labor disputes;
– to recognize and protect intellectual property in accordance with the conditions and exceptions established by national law and the international treaties signed and ratified by the Republic on this matter;
– to promote and guarantee the values of culture and to secure the necessary conditions, legal instruments, means and budgets;
– to guarantee for cultural workers their incorporation into the social security system, in conformity with the law;
– to guarantee the issue, receipt and circulation of cultural information;
– to promote comprehensive education in accord with the principles set out in the Constitution of the Republic and the laws. To create and support institutions and services that are sufficiently endowed to ensure access, continuance and culmination in the educational system;
– to promote the permanent upgrading of educators and the guarantee of tenure in the exercise of the teaching career, both public and private, on the basis of the State Constitution and the laws;
– to guarantee networks of libraries and computers with the aim of permitting universal access to information, the promotion and development of science, technology and knowledge and their applications and information services;
– to guarantee compliance with the ethical and legal principles that must govern the activities of scientific, humanistic and technological research, in accordance with the provisions of the laws;
– to promote sport and recreation as an educational and public health and comprehensive care for sports people without any discrimination, as well as support for sport of a high level of competition and the evaluation and regulation of the sporting entities of the public and private sector, in conformity with the laws;
– to encourage private enterprise while guaranteeing the creation and just distribution of wealth as well as the production of goods and services that satisfy the needs of the population and the freedom of work, enterprises, trade and industry, without prejudice to its right to adopt measures for planning, rationalizing and regulating the economy and fostering the overall development of the State of Yaracuy;
– to adopt measures for avoiding monopolies, the abuse of dominant position and concentrated demands, in conformity with the national laws;
– to protect the environment, biological diversity, the genetic resources, the ecological processes, the parks and natural monuments and other areas of special ecological importance;
– highway security through the highway traffic police created by law.
The matters that are the subject of concurrent powers are regulated by framework laws adopted by the National Power and implementing laws adopted by the State of Yaracuy. This legislation is to be guided by the principles of interdependence, coordination, cooperation, co-responsibility and subsidiarity.
Legislative Power in the State is vested in the unicameral Legislative Council, which is composed of seven members called legislators or deputies. They are elected by universal, direct, personalized and secret suffrage on a proportional basis. The members of the Legislative Council serve a term of four years and may be re-elected only for two consecutive terms.1 The Legislative Council may not be dissolved before the end of its term, either by itself or the Executive.
The quorum for the Legislative Assembly is a majority of incorporated members. The decisions of the Legislative Council are taken by an absolute majority of its members present at the sitting unless the State Constitution or the laws expressly establish another majority.
The instruments adopted by the Legislative Council in the exercise of its powers are not subject to the veto, examination or control of the other Powers. The cases of unconstitutionality or illegality must be alleged before the competent bodies of the Judicial Power in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic and the laws, except for the power of the Governor of the State to request the Legislative Council to reconsider a law before its promulgation.
The Legislative Council has the power and duty to:
– uphold and have upheld the Constitution and laws of the Republic, the State Constitution and the other laws of the State;
– ensure the territorial integrity of the State of Yaracuy;
– adopt and revise the Constitution of the State;
– legislate on matters within the jurisdiction of the State, both constitutionally and legally, as well as on the organization and functioning of the branches of the State Public Power;
– adopt the laws that are required by the Constitution of the Republic and the State Constitution, especially the implementing laws on the basis adopted by the National Legislative Power, taking into consideration the constitutional and legal principles that strengthen the process of decentralization and promoting the transfers of powers from the National Power to the State Power and from the latter to the Municipal Power;
– adopt the law on the political and territorial division of the State and resolve questions involving the creation, merger, modification or elimination of municipalities and other territorial local entities, and to determine their names, officials, boundaries and other elements constituting their organization and functioning, in conformity with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic and the State;
– give advice that the National Assembly requires when it legislates on matters relating to the Member States of the Federation, after previously consulting civil society;
– exercise the legislative initiative before the National Assembly when it is a matter of laws relating to the States of the Federation;
– adopt its Rules of Procedure and whatever other rules that it requires for the better functioning of the institution;
– appoint its Bureau, the Executive Committee and the committees that it considers necessary;
– adopt the law on the public finances of the State;
– adopt the budgetary law of revenues and public expenditures of the State of Yaracuy; it may modify the items in the proposal submitted by the Governor but it may not authorize expenditures that exceed the amount of the estimates of revenues contained in the relevant proposal;
– create, by means of a law, the autonomous institutes of the State;
– elect from among its members the representatives that are to be members of the State Council for the Planning and Coordination of Public Policies, as well as those who represent it before other collegial bodies;
– approve loans on the credit of the State, subject to the provisions of the relevant national law, and to authorize additional credits to the budget and the different transfers of items, ensuring that they are covered by a budgetary provision;
– request from the competent national authorities the public credit operations, in conformity with the law the governs the matter;
– approve, modify and implement its budget of expenditures in accord with its functional and administrative autonomy and in conformity with the annual entry that the budgetary law of the State fixes for it;
– adopt the laws on taxes and other charges, within the scope of the jurisdiction of the State and the taxation branches that the Constitution and the laws of the Republic assign to the States, including those that are transferred to the latter in accord with constitutional and legal provisions. Organize the tax administration of the State and be responsible for the credit of assets, revenues, expenditures and good management of the Public Treasury;
– give an opinion, in view of the report of the State Attorney, that the State Executive may conclude contracts of State public interest with foreign states or official entities or with companies not domiciled in Venezuela. Once the opinion has been given, the matter passes to the National Assembly so that it may make the final decision;
– monitor, inspect and ensure that the public services of the State are provided efficiently, and to make a public declaration on the shortcomings that it encounters; it may request the intervention of the competent bodies when it considers it advisable for the interests of the State;
– authorize the State Executive Power, by the favorable vote of two-thirds of its members, to create, modify or suspend public services in the event of a proven emergency;
– exercise functions of supervision over the Government and the State public administration, under the terms set out in the Constitution of the Republic, the State Constitution and the laws. The evidence obtained in the exercise of this function has evidential value under the conditions set down by law;
– carry out the investigations that it considers pertinent concerning acts of the State public administration; it may question all the State public officials, fixing for them the day and hour of their appearance and the matters that the questioning will deal with;
– promote the participation of citizens and organized civil society in the matters within its jurisdiction, and to establish the relevant procedures for consultation and participation;
– authorize the State Executive to dispose of real property within the private ownership of the State, except for the exceptions laid down by law;
– authorize the appointment of the Attorney-General and to remove him by a favorable vote of three-quarters of its members, when there exists a serious ground, under the terms set out in the State Constitution and after hearing the person concerned;
– accord honors to whomever has rendered meritorious services to the Republic, the State, a municipality or humanity. It is within its sole power to legislate on the creation of the order of merit and decorations of a State character, except those which are the responsibility of the municipalities;
– authorize the Governor of the State to leave the State when his absence is for a period longer than five consecutive days;
– approve the general lines of the economic and social development plan of the State presented by the State Executive;
– request the removal, dismissal or withdrawal of the Secretary-General of the Government, the Secretaries or sectoral directors of the Executive Power and the other officials of the State administration who, because of abuse of authority, negligence or recklessness in their exercise of their functions, violate or undermine the constitutional rights or cause financial damage to the administration or individuals. When the request for dismissal or removal is approved by a vote of two-thirds of the legislators present, the Governor must comply;
– accredit its members and receive their resignations or excuses;
– organize its internal surveillance and guard service, adopt the measures necessary for the preservation of order in the premises of its sittings and impose penalties on those who infringe them;
– decide on the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of its deputies;
– exercise all the other powers established by the Constitution of the Republic, the State Constitution, the laws and the Rules of Procedure.
The acts adopted by the Legislative Council acting as a legislative body are called State laws. State organic laws are those laws that are so named by the State Constitution and those that organize the public powers of the State and those that serve as a normative framework for other laws. State organic laws have preeminence over ordinary State laws in the matters that they regulate. The favorable vote of two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council is require for the adoption of the State organic laws.
The right to initiate State laws is vested in:
– the deputies in a number of not less than two;
– the Executive Committee and the standing committees;
– the Governor of the State;
– the Comptroller-General of the State when it concerns laws relating to the body that he chairs or to the full performance of his functions;
– the municipalities by a resolution of the mayor or a decision of the municipal council;
– the electors in a number of not less than one per thousand of those entered on the electoral roll of the State.
Every Bill must have two readings on different days. Once the Bill is adopted by the relevant majority, the Legislative Council declares the law adopted. Bills that have been rejected may not be considered anew during the sessions of the same year unless they are presented by an absolute majority of the members of the Legislative Council.
The Governor of the State must promulgate the law within the ten days from receiving it, but he may, within this same period of time, request the Legislative Council to reconsider it by means of a reasoned statement so that they may amend some of its provisions or revoke the adoption, totally or partially, of the law. The Legislative Council decides on the objections raised by the Governor and may give to the provisions objected to and whatever is connected with them a new version, in conformity with the request of the Governor. When the decision has been adopted by two-thirds of the members of the Council, the Governor of the State must proceed to promulgate the law within the ten days following its receipt without being able to raise new objections. If the decision is taken by a simple majority, the Governor may, within the same period of time, request a new and last reconsideration or proceed to promulgate the law. If the Legislative Council does not accept this request of the Governor, the latter must promulgate the law within the five days following that of its receipt in the form in which it has been returned to him. If he does not promulgate the law, the President of the Legislative Council promulgates it, without prejudice to the liability for this omission.
Executive Power in the State is vested in the Governor of the State, who is elected by a free, direct, universal and secret vote of the State electoral body. The term of the mandate is four years and he may be elected for a new immediate term and for one time only.2 The Governor, meeting with his Secretaries or Directors, forms the Executive Cabinet of the State.
The Governor is not politically responsible to the Legislative Council. However, if the Supreme Court of Justice declares that there are sufficient grounds to indict the Governor of the State, he is suspended from the exercise of his functions. If the sentence is a conviction, the Governor leaves office; if the sentence is an acquittal, the suspension of the Governor ceases and he assumes anew the exercise of his office. In addition, as for any public official, the exercise of the State Public Power entails individual liability for abuse or diversion of power, exceeding of powers or violation of the Constitution of the Republic, the State Constitution or the national or state laws.
The Legislative Council may also request the removal, dismissal or withdrawal of the Secretary-General of the Government, the Secretaries or sectoral directors of the Executive Power and the other officials of the State administration who, because of abuse of authority, negligence or recklessness in their exercise of their functions, violate or undermine the constitutional rights or cause financial damage to the administration or individuals. When the request for dismissal or removal is approved by a vote of two-thirds of the legislators present, the Governor must comply.
The Governor of the State has the following duties and powers:
– to uphold and have upheld the Constitution and the laws of the State and to issue for their better implementation the necessary regulations without altering their spirit, purpose and reason;
– to issue the decrees and other administrative acts inherent in the exercise of his functions;
– to exercise the supreme direction, coordination, supervision and control of the bodies and entities of the State public administration without impinging on the autonomy to which, according to the law, the decentralized administration of the State is entitled;
– to preside over the Executive Cabinet of the State;
– to draw up the State Development Plan and issue the necessary instructions for the preparation of the plans that all the bodies and entities of the State public administration must formulate;
– to appoint and remove the Secretary-General of the Government or the Director-General of the Government or the Directors of the office of the Executive and those State officials and employees whose resignation is not attributed to another authority;
– to draw up in the year following the approval of the National Plan, the Social and Economic Plan of the State, taking into account the orientation of the latter, and to submit it to the Legislative Council for its information;
– to present to the Legislative Council the annual report on his conduct of affairs during the immediately preceding year;
– to attend the Legislative Council or its Executive Committee in order to inform it about questions related to the state administration, at the request of the Legislative Council or on his own initiative, or to take part in the discussions on the laws;
– to present annually to the Comptroller-General and the State Council for the Planning and Coordination of Public Policies the report on his administrative management during the preceding year;
– to convene the Legislative Council to extraordinary sessions, stating expressly the subject of these sessions;
– to administer the State Public Treasury;
– to prepare the proposed budgetary law and to present it to the Legislative Council before the 15th of November of each year, which date may be extended for a period of fifteen days more with the prior authorization of the Legislative Council;
– to decree additional appropriations and amendments to the budgetary law after previously meeting the legal requirements and receiving the approval of the Legislative Council or its Executive Committee;
– to negotiate the loans decreed by the Legislative Council;
– to decree, undertake and contract for the carrying-out of the public works of the State, as well as to ensure the full investment of the funds that are assigned to them;
– to request an authorization from the Legislative Assembly for setting up decentralized entities of the State public administration;
– to create, endow, modify or abolish the public services of the State, while the Legislative Council is in recess, in the event of a proven urgency and after obtaining the authorization of the Executive Committee;
– to exercise the supreme direction of the police of the State for the safeguarding of public order and the security of persons and their property;
– to defend the autonomy and integrity of the State and its rights;
– to send to the Legislative Council for its information the programs for the investment of the constitutional budgetary allowance in coordination with plans drawn up nationally and municipally;
– to chair the State Council for the Planning and Coordination of Public Policies;
– to participate actively in the Federal Governing Council;
– to decree a state of emergency and to take the necessary measures to deal with it;
– to promulgate the State Constitution and the State laws;
– to exercise the other powers that the Constitution of the Republic, the State Constitution and the laws establish.
There are no provisions on the Judicial Power in the State Constitution. This Power is regulated at the federal level.
The Constitution of the State of Yaracuy is particularly inspired by Chavism with its emphasis on decentralization and direct democracy. The institutions outlined above must be construed within this framework.
Article 22 of the State Constitution states that the State of Yaracuy takes on decentralization as a policy for deepening democracy, bringing power closer to the population and creating the best conditions both for the exercise of democracy and the effective and efficient performance of the tasks of the State. Thus, the State of Yaracuy must promote decentralization and the transfer to the municipalities of the services and powers that they administer and which the latter are capable of providing, as well as the administration of the relevant resources.
In addition, the State may decentralize and transfer to the communities and organized neighborhood groups the services that they administer after a prior demonstration of their capacity to provide them, and it is to promote:
– the transfer of services in matters of health, education, housing, sport, culture, social programs, the environment, the maintenance of industrial areas, the maintenance and preservation of urban and rural areas and neighborhood protection, the construction of works and the provision of public services;
– the participation of the communities and citizens through the neighborhood associations and non-governmental organizations in the formulation of investment proposals to the State and municipal authorities charged with drawing up the relevant investment plans, as well as in the carrying-out, evaluation and control of works, social programs and public services within its jurisdiction;
– participation in the economic processes taking place in the social economy, such as cooperatives, credit unions, benefit societies and other forms of association;
– the participation of workers and communities in the management of public undertakings through self-management and co-management mechanisms;
– the creation of organizations, cooperatives and communal undertakings for services as sources for generating employment and social wellbeing and providing for their permanence by means of the design of a policy in which they participate;
– the creation of new subjects of decentralization under the parishes, the communities, the districts and the neighborhoods for the purpose of guaranteeing the principle of co-responsibility in the public management of the local and State government and of implementing a self-management and co-management process in the administration and control of the State and municipal public services;
– participation of the communities in outreach activities for the penal institutions and a link of these with the population.
The following are in general means of direct political participation for the population of the State of Yaracuy; the ejection from public offices, the referendum, the legislative initiative, the open town hall meeting and the assembly of citizens, among other means. The decisions within this political framework have a binding character.
Specifically, direct democracy under the Constitution of Yaracuy entails the following:
– all the citizens inhabiting the State of Yaracuy have a right to participate freely and directly in public affairs;
– the electors may require their representatives to render public, transparent and periodical accounts of their conduct in accordance with the program that they have promised;
– matters of special importance to the State may be submitted to a consultative referendum. The initiative belongs to the Legislative Council by a qualified majority of two-thirds of its members, the Governor or a number of electors of not less than ten percent of the total of those entered on the electoral roll of the State of Yaracuy;
– all the offices and judgeships that are subject to a popular election are revocable. Once half of the term for which the official was elected has passed, a number of not less than twenty percent of the electors registered in the relevant constituency may request of the competent body the holding of a referendum in order to revoke his mandate. When the same or an equal number of electors who elected the official subject to the revoking referendum have voted in favor of the revocation of his mandate, provided that a number of electors have taken part in the referendum that is equal to or greater than twenty-five percent of those registered in the relevant constituency, the mandate and appointment of the official is held to be revoked;
– Bills being debated before the Legislative Council must be submitted to a referendum if this is decided by not less than two-thirds of its members. If the referendum approves the Bill, the relevant Bill is adopted as a law provided that not less than twenty-five percent of the electors entered on the electoral and civil roll of the State have taken part;
– laws of the State, the repeal of which is requested by an initiative of a number of not less than ten percent of the registered electors or by the Governor, must be submitted to a referendum in order to be repealed totally or partially. The repealing referendum is valid if at least forty percent of the electors entered on the electoral roll of the relevant territory have taken part in the vote. The laws on the budget, those that establish or modify taxes or those that, within the scope of its powers, the Legislative Council says are to protect, guarantee or implement human rights may not be submitted to a repealing referendum. Not more than one repealing referendum may be held in a constitutional session for the same matter.
– besides the members of the Legislative Council, a representative of the existing organizations of workers in the State, a representative of the professional associations with a seat in the State, a representative of the universities and institutes of higher education in the State, a representative designated by the municipalities of the State, a representative of the cultural, religious and rural institutions, a representative of the business associations that are active in the State and a representative of the federations of neighborhoods may attend the sittings with a right to speak but not to vote;
– the electors in a number of not less than one per thousand of those entered on the electoral roll of the State may initiate legislation;
– the initiative for a constitutional amendment or a complete revision of the State Constitution may come from fifteen percent of the citizens entered on the electoral and civil register of the State;
– constitutional changes must be submitted to a public consultation;
– the representatives of the professional associations, the universities and organized society have a right to speak in the legislative proceedings;
– representatives of the organized communities sit on the Council for the Planning and Coordination of Public Policies.
The State Constitution may be revised totally or partially by the Legislative Council of the State of Yaracuy after a prior public consultation of civil society.
An amendment is aimed at the partial revision of this Constitution and the substitution of one or more of its rules but does not modify the structure and fundamental principles of the constitutional text.
A constitutional amendment is handled by the Legislative Council in the following manner:
– the initiative may come from fifteen percent of the citizens entered on the electoral and civil register of the State; or at least three of the deputies of the Legislative Council or the Governor of the State;
– the proposal for a partial revision or amendment is debated according to the procedure set out in the Constitution for the enactment of law and is considered approved by the vote of three-quarters of the deputies of the Legislative Council;
– the proposed constitutional amendment must be submitted to a public consultation with the thirty days following its presentation;
– an initiative for a constitutional amendment that is not approved may not be presented again in the same constitutional session of the Legislative Council.
In the event of a total revision of the constitution, it is handled by the Legislative Council in the following manner:
– the initiative may come from fifteen percent of the citizens entered on the electoral and civil register of the State or the Legislative Council by means of a decision approved by a majority of its members or the Governor of the State;
– the proposed total revision of the Constitution must have three readings within the full Legislative Council;
– the proposed revision is considered approved with the vote of three-quarters of the deputies of the Legislative Council;
– the proposed constitutional revision must be submitted to a public consultation within the thirty days following its presentation;
– an initiative for a constitutional revision that is not approved may not be presented again in the same constitutional session of the Legislative Council.
1 Following the 2009 referendum, the National Constitution was amended to permit elected officials at all levels to stand for the same post as often as they like.
2 Following the 2009 referendum, the National Constitution was amended to permit elected officials at all levels to stand for the same post as often as they like.