Under the 1965 constitution, as subsequently modified, Botswana is a republic. It is Africa's longest continuous multiparty democracy. The president is the chief of state, chief executive, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He is elected by a simple majority of the National Assembly. The president appoints a cabinet from among the National Assembly members, including the vice president, who also serves as a cabinet minister. The president also has the power to declare war, and he can summon or dissolve the National Assembly at any time. He can veto any bill, but if it is passed again within six months, he must either sign it or dissolve the Assembly.
The bi-cameral parliament consists of a National Assembly and a House of Chiefs. The National Assembly comprises 44 seats—40 are directly elected members and 4 are appointed by the majority party. After a no-confidence vote, the Assembly must be dissolved, or the president must resign. The House of Chiefs is largely advisory and consists of the chiefs of the eight principal tribes, four chiefs elected from minority districts, and three others elected by the House. Any proposed bill relating to matters of tribal concern must be referred to the House of Chiefs before the Assembly can pass it. It was chaired by Chief Seepapitso IV as of 1997. All citizens of Botswana aged 18 and over are eligible to vote. Both the President and members of parliament are elected for five-year terms.