The state of siege is the exceptional regime through which, in extremely serious situations, the executive branch may execute exceptional measures in collaboration with the armed forces. Always, in order to restore national stability.
The state of siege is one of the exceptional regimes that operate in extraordinary state situations. It cannot be used arbitrarily, since it must be approved by the majority of the legislative power.
The state of siege implies the possibility of suspending certain fundamental rights. In addition, one of its primary characteristics is the role of the armed forces, these being, in collaboration with the government, those in charge of developing the strategies and measures necessary to restore normalcy.
The circumstances classified as extremely serious, which are those that motivate the declaration of the state of siege, are the following: armed insurrection, external military invasion, civil war or aggression against sovereignty or territorial integrity. Only in these cases, in which the threat of the country poses a danger to citizens, can the state of siege be executed. And as long as it meets the formal requirements for approval.
When is the state of siege declared - and how long does it last?
As it depends on the internal law of each country, we are going to see in some States which law includes it; for what situations it is contemplated; and who and how is it approved:
State of siege in Spain
In Spain, it is Article 116 that includes its existence, more specifically its fourth paragraph, which establishes the following: “The state of siege will be declared by the absolute majority of the Congress of Deputies, at the exclusive proposal of the government. Congress will determine its territorial scope, duration and conditions ”.
Regarding its content, the law that develops it is Organic Law 4/1981, of June 1, on states of alarm, exception and siege. Chapter IV is the one that contains what is related to the state of siege. The reasons for which it can be approved are included in article 32.1: “When an insurrection or act of force against the sovereignty or independence of Spain, its territorial integrity or the constitutional order occurs or threatens to occur, which cannot be resolved by other means ”.
State of siege in Mexico
In the United Mexican States, the state of siege (although it is not referred to as such) is included in Article 29 of the 1917 Constitution. The reason for its approval is as follows: “In cases of invasion, serious disturbance of the public peace, or any other that puts society in serious danger or conflict ”.
The competent authority is the president of the country, with the approval of the Congress of the Union. And it establishes that “the exercise of rights and guarantees that are an obstacle to quickly and easily face the situation may be restricted or suspended throughout the country or in a specific place. It also collects that time must be limited. Finally, it establishes a series of rights that cannot be suspended, such as non-discrimination; children's rights, as well as many others.
State of siege in Argentina
The state of siege, in Argentina, is also included in the Constitution. But, unlike the previous countries, it does so in different chapters and sections. In the first place, Article 23 establishes the following: "In the event of internal commotion or external attack that endangers the exercise of this Constitution and of the authorities created by it, a state of siege shall be declared in the province or territory in where there is a disturbance of order, where constitutional guarantees are suspended ”.
According to article 99, it is the President who declares the state of siege, but its approval depends on the Congress if it were an internal commotion (article 75). In case of external attack, according to article 61, approval corresponds to the Senate.