Under the constitution of 27 November 1960, the nation was governed by a president, a council of ministers, and a National Assembly of 50 members. On 5 January 1966, President Lamizana suspended the constitution and dissolved the National Assembly, announcing that he would exercise legislative and executive power by ordinance and decree. A constitution approved in 1970 provided for eventual restitution of democratic institutions, although with a formal role in the government for the military. The 1970 constitution was suspended in February 1974, when the army again assumed full power.
A democratic constitution, adopted in 1977, provided for a president and a 57-member National Assembly. This document was abolished after the coup of 25 November 1980, and the Military Committee for Reform and National Progress (Comité Militaire de Redressement pour le Progrès National—CMRPN), led by Col. Sayé Zerbo, assumed power. The military coup of 7 November 1982 led to the abolition of the CMRPN and the formation of the People's Salvation Council (Conseil du Salut du Peuple—CSP) under Maj. Jean-Baptiste Ouédraogo. The CSP was itself dissolved by the military coup of 4 August 1983, which established the National Revolutionary Council (Conseil National de la Révolution—CNR), a body that included radical former CSP members. Under Capt. Thomas Sankara, its chairman and the head of state, the CNR was the supreme governmental authority and was assisted by a Council of Ministers. Following the October 1987 coup, this body was renamed the Popular Front, with Capt. Blaise Compaoré as its chief.
A new constitution, establishing the fourth republic, was adopted on 2 June 1991. Among other provisions, it called for an Assembly of People's Deputies with 107 seats (now 111). The president is chief of state, chairs a council of ministers, appoints a prime minister, who with the legislature's consent, serves as head of government. In April 2000, the constitution was amended reducing the presidential term from seven to five years, enforceable as of 2005, and allowing the president to be reelected only once. However, it was unclear whether this amendment would be applied retroactively or not. The legislative branch is a unicameral National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) consisting of 111 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms.