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Gambia Government Information
Official Name:
Government of The Republic of The Gambia.
MinistriesThe 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 The 1970 constitution was revoked following the July 1994 military coup.

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 village head.

The Judiciary
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 of Appeal.

Political Parties
Main Political Parties:
APRC - Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction
GPP - Gambian People's Party
PPP - Progressive People's Party
UDP - United Democratic Party

Legislature
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.

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The Constitution
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 House.

Legislative power is vested in the unicameral National Assembly, with 53 members: 48 elected by universal adult suffrage and 5 appointed by the president.
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.




 
   















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