After independence, Mali was governed by the 1960 constitution, which provided for a national assembly. This body was abolished by the Keita regime in January 1968. Following the military coup of November 1968, the constitution itself was abolished and a provisional regime, the Military Committee for National Liberation, was established.
A long-awaited constitution was drawn up by the Military Committee in 1974 and endorsed in a public referendum on 2 June 1974. In this first national ballot since 1964, 99% of the electorate voted for acceptance. The constitution, which took full effect in 1979 and was amended in 1981, provided for a president with a six-year term, an 82-member national assembly, and a one-party system. The assembly was elected for a three-year term. There was universal suffrage at age 21. The 1979 constitution was replaced by a new constitution adopted by referendum in January 1992.
In 1997, the national assembly had 116 deputies with 10 parties represented. Presently, the total number of seats is 147 with members popularly elected serving five-year terms. Led by ATT, the Hope 2002 coalition holds 66 seats to 51 for ADEMA, and 30 held by other parties with the next rounds of elections scheduled for 2007.
The president, elected by popular vote, chooses the prime minister who selects a cabinet. Attempting to remain above party politics, ATT insisted that all of the main parties having won seats in the parliament in the July 2002 elections have cabinet members in the government.