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Madagascar, Government

In 1993 Madagascar replaced its single-party socialist system with a multiparty democracy under terms of a new constitution adopted the year before. According to this constitution, the head of state is the president, elected by the voters to a five-year term. A bicameral (two-chamber) legislature is comprised of a 150-member National Assembly, directly elected to four-year terms, and a 90-member Senate, two-thirds of which is selected by an electoral college and one-third appointed by the president, all to four-year terms. Executive power is vested in a prime minister. In 1995 the constitution was amended by public referendum to allow the president instead of the National Assembly to appoint and dismiss the prime minister.

The judicial system is modeled on that of France. It includes a Supreme Court, in Antananarivo; a Court of Appeal; 11 courts of first instance; and special economic and criminal tribunals. Until 1993 the structure of local government included six provinces, which were divided into prefectures, subprefectures, and cantons. In 1995 it was determined that once local elections take place, these provinces will be divided into 28 regions; the regions will contain departments and, within the departments, communes.

The National Front for the Defense of the Madagascar Socialist Revolution was Madagascarís only permitted political organization from 1975 to 1990. Legislation approved that year allowed the resumption of multiparty political activity, resulting in the formation of more than 120 parties. Leading political organizations include the Association for the Rebirth of Madagascar, the ruling party; Economic Liberalism and Democratic Action for National Recovery; People Are Judged by the Work They Do; Rally for Socialism and Democracy; and Action, Truth, Development, and Harmony.

 
 

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