Constitution of Malawi

Status: Republic with executive President

Legislature: Parliament of Malawi

Independence: 6 July 1964

The present constitution was approved by the National Assembly in May 1994 and promulgated in May 1995. It provides for a multiparty democracy on the US model. It curtails the former sweeping and absolute powers of the President, contains a bill of human rights (although it retains the death penalty) and protects the independence of the judiciary.

The Head of State is an executive President, who is elected every five years for a maximum of two terms by direct universal suffrage. The President is also head of the cabinet, whose maximum size is 24 members. Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral National Assembly, whose 193 members are directly elected for a five-year term by universal adult suffrage.

The Senate was scheduled to follow the local elections that were eventually held in November 2000, but in January 2001 the National Assembly approved a constitutional amendment that removed the provision for a senate.