The Republic of Haiti, which had been a French colony since 1677, was proclaimed independent January 1, 1804, and is now governed under a centralized system laid down by the Constitution of 1935, to which, however, 20 amendments were added in July, 1939, materially increasing the powers of the National Assembly. The President is now elected by two thirds vote of the National Assembly and serves for five years. Amendments to the Constitution are now the exclusive power of the National Assembly, which is composed of 37 deputies and 21 senators and, as life members, all the former Presidents of the Republic who have completed their terms of office since 1930. Deputies are elected for 4 years by popular vote ; senators for 6 years, 11 of these are elected by the Chamber of Deputies and 10 are appointed by the President of the Republic. One third of the number retires every 2 years. Under the Constitution, deputies and senators must own real property in Haiti.
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