Namibia: Constitution

Updated July 2005

CONSTITUTION Constitution adopted February 1990 prior to independence in March. Amended 1998[1].
FORM OF STATE Republic
HEAD OF STATE The President is the Head of State and Government, as well as Commander in Chief of the armed forces[2]. The President is elected through direct universal adult suffrage by an absolute majority[3]. The President is restricted to two terms of office of five years each and all presidential candidates must be over 35 years[4].
EXECUTIVE Executive power lies with the President and the Cabinet (including the Prime Minister); cabinet members are appointed by the President. The President may also appoint a Deputy Prime Minister[5].
LEGISLATURE Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly, subject to the assent of the President, and under certain conditions, the National Council[6]. The National Assembly consists of 72 members directly elected in a single constituency proportional representation system (with no minimum entry threshold) and up to 6 members, without voting rights, nominated by the President; term is 5 years[7]. The National Council is comprised of two members elected by each of the 13 Regional Councils; term is 6 years[8]
JUDICIARY The court system comprises a Supreme Court, a High Court and lower courts[9]. The Chief Justice (head of the Supreme Court), the President of the High Court and all other judges are appointed by the President acting on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission[10]. Judges are removable by the President for incompetence or misbehaviour only on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission[11].
AMENDMENTS The bill of rights (Chapter 3, Articles 5-25) cannot be repealed or amended. Amendments to other articles require a two-thirds majority of both houses sitting separately. However, a veto by the National Council may be overridden through a national referendum[12].
DEMOCRACY PROTECTION AGENCIES The Ombudsman is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission without a term limit; is a hybrid institution incorporating the public protector, human rights protections, anti-corruption and environmental protection mandates[13].

Table notes

[1] The First Constitutional Amendment Act 34 (1998) amended Article 134 to permit a third term for the first president.
[2] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 27(1).
[3] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 28(2).
[4] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 29(1), (3). The presidential term also expires if the National Assembly is prematurely dissolved.
[5] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 27(2), 35(1), (2).
[6] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 44. As regards the limited legislative functions of the National Council, see Article 75 and Article 132(2),(3).
[7] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 46(1).
[8] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 69(1).
[9] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 78(1).
[10] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 82.
[11] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Article 84.
[12] Constitution of Namibia 1992, Articles 131, 132.
[13] Constitution of Namibia (1990, Articles 89-94.

Reference

CONSTITUTION OF NAMIBIA 1992, [www] http://209.88.21.55/opencms/export/sites/ default/grnnet/AboutNamibia/constitution/constitution1.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 23 Feb 2010).