Under the 1963 constitution, as amended, the president of the republic determines national policy and appoints the prime minister and his council of ministers. As presently constituted, the constitution does not give the president the authority to dissolve the National Assembly or to veto legislation. However, if the National Assembly is requested to reconsider a measure it has enacted, the bill must be passed again by a three-fifths majority before it becomes law. The president also may ask the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of a proposed law. With the consent of the president of the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, the president of the republic may submit any proposed law to national referendum. In his first two months of office, Abdoulaye Wade created a presidential council to coordinate and to execute policy decisions taken by his council of ministers.
Legislative power is exercised by the 120-member (formerly 140-member) National Assembly, elected to serve five-year terms. The Assembly elects the 16 members of the High Court of Justice from among its ranks. Members of the Council of Ministers may not be Assembly members, and are appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president. The former senate, established in 1998, had 60 members, 48 elected by an electoral college (legislators and local, municipal and regional councilors), and 12 appointed by the president. Major opposition parties boycotted the Senate elections on 24 January 1999, and since 2001 it no longer functions. The next presidential election is due February 2005, and parliamentary elections are due in 2006.