Constitution of Brunei Darussalam

Status: National monarchy

Legislature: Legislative Council

Under the 1959 constitution, the Sultan is the head of state with full executive authority and is assisted and advised by five councils – the Religious Council, the Privy Council, the Council of Cabinet Ministers, the Legislative Council and the Council of Succession.

The Legislative Council was suspended in 1984, since when the Sultan has ruled through emergency decree. He has sole power to amend the provisions of existing laws. There are no elections; the last election was held in 1962. The national ideology, Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB), invokes Islam and Brunei’s history in support of the Sultan’s absolute power, as well as the paramountcy of the Malays in Brunei.

In September 2004 a Legislative Council was revived and 21 members appointed, with no immediate timetable for election of the proposed 15 directly elected members. In September 2005 the Sultan dissolved the existing Legislative Council and appointed 29 new members.