The Constitution of Guyana is the republic’s supreme law and spells out the powers and branches of the government. Guyana is governed by three separate, but complementary, branches of Government: The Legislature (National Assembly), the Executive (President, Cabinet and Government Departments) and the Judiciary (Courts). In brief:
- The Legislature (parliament consists of the President and the National Assembly) is the most important branch of the Government that makes the laws, including the highest law in the country, the Constitution. It can also change and amends laws. The President is not a member of the National Assembly but has the power to attend and address the Assembly at any time. The President must assent to a bill passed by the National Assembly before the bill becomes law.
- The Executive branch governs Guyana. The President is the Head of State, the supreme executive authority and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Guyana. The President appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers and assigns responsibilities to them. The Cabinet consists of the President, the Prime Minister and other Ministers appointed to it by the President. It aids and advises the President in the general direction and control of the Government.
- The Judiciary branch vests its authority in the courts. The courts determine and interpret the law. The courts are independent and impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law. The Chancellor of the Judiciary is the chief representative of the judicial authority of Guyana. The Supreme Court consists of the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
The power to run the country is divided among the three branches to create a system of checks and balances. Over the years, the Constitution has been amended on several occasions. The constitutional basis for the conduct of the conduct of elections in Guyana since 1964 is by way of a system of proportional representation. According to the Constitution, the President of Guyana is not only the head of government or the head of state, but also the commander-in-chief of the Republic’s armed forces. The Presidency is an elective post where an elected president serves a maximum of two consecutive 5-year terms. In the early post-independence years, the president was elected by the National Assembly and mainly wielded ceremonial powers. However, a 1980 constitutional referendum gave the president executive powers. The President is deputized by the Prime Minister.
On May 11, 2015, there was a regime change in Guyana, where the A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change coalition (APNU/AFC), led by President David Granger, won the majority of seats in the sixty-five-member Parliament. The outgoing regime, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is the official opposition. The opposition were in power for 23 years (since 1992).
For Further information visit Parliament of Guyana, Branches of Government