The government comprises three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The executive branch is headed by the president, who is elected by popular vote for not more than two terms of four years each. The president is assisted by a cabinet of ministers, one of whom is the vice-president and is also elected by popular vote. The president and vice-president run on separate tickets. A council of chiefs, based on Palau's clan system, advises the president on traditional and customary matters.
The legislative branch, known as the Olbiil Era Kelulau, or National Congress, is a bicameral form of legislature, comprising 9 senators and 16 delegates. The senators, elected for four-year terms, are apportioned throughout Palau on the basis of population and traditional regional political groupings. The delegates are elected from each of the 16 states and have the same four-year term as the senators.
In November 1992 Kuniwo Nakamura was elected Palau's new president, with 50.7% of the vote. Palau's Vice President, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. was also elected at that time. Both Nakamura and Remengesau were reelected president and vice president, respectively, in 1996. In the 2000 general elections, Remengesau was elected president, and Sandra Pierantozzi became Palau's first woman vice president.