Botswana is formally a multiparty constitutional democracy. Each of the elections since independence in September 1966 has been freely and fairly contested and has been held on schedule. The country's small white minority and other minorities participate freely in the political process. There are two main rival parties and a number of smaller parties. General elections are held at least every 5 years.
The National Assembly has 57 elected and 4 appointed members; it is expanded following each census (every 10 years). After elections, the party that wins the majority elects the State President. The President then appoints the Vice President, but the appointment is subject to endorsement by the National Assembly.
There are 57 parliamentary constituencies in Botswana.
The advisory House of Chiefs represents the eight principal subgroups of the Batswana people, and four other members are elected by the subchiefs of four of the districts. A draft of any National Assembly bill of tribal concern must be referred to the House of Chiefs for advisory opinion. Chiefs and other leaders preside over customary, traditional courts, though all persons have the right to request that their case be considered under the formal British-based legal system.
The President appoints Ministers to head the different government Ministries. The President and Ministers form the Cabinet (Executive). The Cabinet is headed by the President, who is also head of government.
Local government is administered by nine district councils and five town councils. District commissioners have executive authority and are appointed by the central government and assisted by elected and nominated district councilors and district development committees. There has been ongoing debate about the political, social, and economic marginalization of the San (Bushmen). The government's policies for remote area dwellers continue to spark controversy and may be revised in response to domestic and donor concerns.
Botswana's High Court has general civil and criminal jurisdiction. Judges are appointed by the president and may be removed only for cause and after a hearing. The constitution has a code of fundamental human rights enforced by the courts, and Botswana has a good human rights record.