Under the constitution of 5 June 1979, the president was the head of state. Nominated by party, the president ran for election unopposed. Legislative power was vested in the People's Assembly, which consists of 34 members, 25 representing constituencies and 9 seats allocated by proportional representation based on the party list system. Electoral candidates were chosen in primaries by SPPF members from up to three in each constituency nominated by the SPPF Central Executive Committee of each constituency. The president selected the cabinet members.
The June 1993 constitution called for multi-party elections of a president and a National Assembly of 33 members, 22 directly elected and 11 allocated on a proportional basis. The new constitution guarantees extensive political and civil liberties. But it also allows the curtailment of freedom of expression in order to protect "the reputation, rights, and freedoms of private lives of persons." This is a thinly veiled limitation on the freedom of the press.
In 1996, the SPPF successfully introduced constitutional changes including the enlargement of the National Assembly to 35, with 10 members to be chosen by proportional representation, party list and creation of the post for a vice president. In 1998, the United Opposition (UO) boycotted the National Assembly meetings protesting the SPPF's increased undemocratic behavior. Presently, the National Assembly comprises 34 seats, 25 elected by popular vote and 9 allocated on a proportional basis to parties winning at least 10% of the vote.
The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2006, and parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2007. Members of the National Assembly serve five-year terms.