Government of The Republic of
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was revoked following the July 1994 military coup.
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
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 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.
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 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.