Under the republican constitution of 24 April 1970, as amended, the president, popularly elected for a five-year term, was the head of state. Presidential powers included designating a vice president, who exercised the functions of a prime minister, and appointing cabinet members. The House of Representatives had 36 members elected by universal adult suffrage (at age 18), five chiefs elected by the Chiefs in Assembly, and eight appointed nonvoting members; the Attorney General was also a member ex officio.
The military junta suspended the constitution on 22 July 1994, but following presidential elections two years later, a unicameral National Assembly was instituted, consisting of 49 members, 4 of which were appointed by the president with the remainder standing for election. Presently, the Assembly consists of 53 members, 48 of which are popularly elected, and five of which are appointed by the president. They serve a five-year term. Presidential elections are due October 2006 and legislative elections January 2007. A cabinet reshuffle occurred in January 2000.