The constitution — adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995 and 1999 — defines the basic principles of its government. The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term.
The prime minister is the head of government and proposes other ministers and secretaries of state. The prime minister is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president. Members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote for 5-year terms. Three parties now hold seats in the National Assembly — PAICV (40), MPD (30), and Cape Verdean Independent Democratic Union (UCID) (2).
The judicial system consists of a Supreme Court of Justice — whose members are appointed by the president, the National Assembly, and the Board of the Judiciary — and regional courts. Separate courts hear civil, constitutional, and criminal cases. Appeal is to the Supreme Court.