Government of The Republic of The Gambia.
Gambia is a multi-party democratic republic within the Commonwealth;
independent since 1965; and an Executive Presidency established in
1970. The 1970 constitution was revoked following the July 1994
The Constitution of the Second Republic of The Gambia, which was
approved in a national referendum on 8 August 1996, came into effect
on 16 January 1997. Under its terms, the Head of State is the
President of the Republic, who is directly elected by universal adult
suffrage and holds executive authority. Legislative authority is
vested in the National Assembly, which serves a five-year term and
comprises 53 members - 48 of which are directly elected and 5
appointed members. The President appoints government members, who are
responsible both to the Head of State and to the National Assembly.
The current president is Yahya Jammeh. The president's official
residence is State House.
After 200 years of British Colonial rule, The Gambia became
independent on 18th February 1965 and 5 years later in April
1970-adopted a republican constitution. The Gambia, a multi-party
republic within the Commonwealth, is administered by an Executive
President. Under the current constitution general elections through
secret ballots are held every five years to elect candidates who
constitute the country's House of Parliament.
For administrative purposes the country is divided into The Capital
and Seat of Government together with the adjoining Kombo St. Mary and
the provinces are in turn divided into five Divisions (now known as
regions), each headed by
a Commissioner who is the administrative head. These divisions, are
further sub-divided into 35 districts locally administered by Seyfos
(chiefs). Each district covers a number of villages and settlements
with the Alkalo as the
The Gambia judicial system is similar to the system found in most
countries with Common Law Jurisdiction. There is only one system of
courts which form a hierarchy. The subordinate courts consist of (a)
Khadis (Muslim) Courts, (b) District tribunals, and (c) Magistrates
courts. These courts have limited jurisdiction to hear both civil and
criminal matters before them.
At the higher level, there are the Supreme Court and The Gambia Court
Main Political Parties:
APRC - Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
GPP - Gambian People's Party
PPP - Progressive People's Party
UDP - United Democratic Party
The parliament of Gambia is called the
National Assembly and is a Unicameral
parliament. Consisting of 53 members, 48 of which are directly elected
for a term of 5 years.
The Gambia's earlier Constitution came into force on
24th April 1970, when the country became a republic. Its major
provisions are summarised below: See also the current constitution.
Executive power is vested in the
President of State and
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Following a constitutional
amendment in March 1982, the President is elected by direct universal
suffrage, and serves five-year term. The President appoints the
vice-president, who is leader of government business in the House of
Representatives, and other Cabinet
Ministers from members of the
Legislative power is vested in the unicameral
National Assembly, with
53 members: 48 elected by universal adult suffrage and 5 appointed by
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.
Since the Military take-over on July 22nd 1994, the APRC Government
has made a few amendments to the constitution of The Gambia's but the
Judiciary has remained the same. The new government has also
established a constitutional review commission (CRC) which is charged
with the responsibility of reviewing the present constitution in order
to make it more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people
of The Gambia.
Both the British and United States governments as well as the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided technical and financial
assistance to The Gambia for the APRC Transition Programme for
economic and social development and the steady return to democratic
civilian rule in July 1996.