Constitution of Venezuela
The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the current and twenty-sixth constitution of Venezuela. It was drafted in mid-1999 by a constitutional assembly that had been created by popular referendum. Adopted in December 1999, it replaced the 1961 Constitution, the longest-serving in Venezuelan history. It was primarily promoted by former President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and thereafter received strong backing from diverse sectors, including figures involved in promulgating the 1961 constitution such as Luis Miquilena and Carlos Andrés Pérez. Chávez and his followers (chavistas) refer to the 1999 document as the ""Constitución Bolivariana"" (the ""Bolivarian Constitution"") because they assert that it is ideologically descended from the thinking and political philosophy of Simón Bolívar and Bolivarianism.The Constitution of 1999 was the first constitution approved by popular referendum in Venezuelan history, and summarily inaugurated the so-called ""Fifth Republic"" of Venezuela due to the socioeconomic changes foretold in its pages, as well as the official change in Venezuela's name from the República de Venezuela (""Republic of Venezuela"") to the República Bolivariana de Venezuela (""Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela""). Major changes are made to the structure of Venezuela's government and responsibilities, while a much greater number of human rights are enshrined in the document as guaranteed to all Venezuelans – including free education up to tertiary level, free quality health care, access to a clean environment, right of minorities (especially indigenous peoples) to uphold their own traditional cultures, religions, and languages, among others. The 1999 Constitution, with 350 articles, is among the world's longest, most complicated, and most comprehensive constitutions.