parliamentary elections, British throne, constitutional monarchy, British monarch, Kenyan government
Before independence in 1963, Kenya was a British colony governed by an all-powerful colonial administrator. The vast majority of Kenyans were not allowed to vote and were not represented in the government. With independence, Kenya became a constitutional monarchy under the nominal sovereignty of the British monarch, with a prime minister serving as head of government. In 1964 Kenya cut its ties to the British throne and became a republic with a president as head of state and government. The office of prime minister was removed. From 1964 to 1966, and from 1969 to 1982, Kenya was, for all practical purposes, a one-party state; between 1982 and 1991 it was a one-party state by law. In 1991 the Kenyan government allowed for the existence of multiple political parties, and in 1992 the country held its first contested presidential elections.
Independent Kenya’s first constitution, adopted in 1963, provided for a semi-federal system with a two-chamber national legislature and regional governments with designated powers. When the constitution was revised in 1964 to provide for a republic with a strong president, most federal features of the government were scrapped. In 1967 the two chambers of the legislature were merged to form the single-chamber National Assembly. The country holds regularly scheduled parliamentary elections, and all citizens age 18 and older are eligible to vote.
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