The 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 The 1970 constitution was revoked following the July 1994 military coup.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 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.