Papua New Guinea is an independent, parliamentary democracy in the Commonwealth of Nations, with a governor-general representing the British crown.
Under the 1975 constitution, legislative power is vested in the national parliament (formerly the house of assembly) of 109 members, including 20 representing provincial electorates and 89 from open electorates, serving a term of up to five years. Suffrage is universal and voting compulsory for adults at age 18. The government is formed by the party or coalition of parties, that has a majority in the national parliament, and executive power is undertaken by the national executive council, selected from the government parties and chaired by the prime minister.
The government has constitutional authority over the defense force, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, and intelligence organizations.