Botswana was a British colony called Bechuanaland until 30 September 1966, when it received its independence. It is a republic, with a unicameral (single-chambered) parliament similar to that of the United Kingdom. The president of the country is elected by Parliament and then chooses the vice president. The main political parties are the Botswana Democratic Party, Botswana National Front, Botswana Congress Party, and Botswana Peoples Party. Botswana has a stable political history, with peaceful elections held every 5 years. Sir Seretse Khama was elected president of Botswana in 1966 and held office until 1980. Quett Masire took office upon the death of President Khama and remained president until 1998, when he resigned. Festus Mogae of the Botswana Democratic Party was elected president in 1998. Political opposition parties question the government about unemployment and the perception that foreigners take jobs away from locals.
Though Botswana in general practices free market policies, there is some government control over central services such as banking and telecommunications. Government policy leans towards privatization of publicly-owned companies. Taxes on investment are among the lowest in the Southern Africa region. Corporate taxes apply equally to foreign and domestic businesses and were lowered from 35 percent to 25 percent in 1995 in order to attract more investment. A similar tax reduction in the same year was applied to the manufacturing sector, where taxes were lowered from 35 percent to 15 percent.