GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Government: A parliamentary democracy at independence in
1957, followed by alternating military and civilian governments. In
January 1993, military government gave way to Fourth Republic after
presidential and parliamentary elections in late 1992. The 1992
constitution divides powers among a president, parliament, cabinet,
Council of State, and an independent judiciary. Government elected
by universal suffrage.
Administrative Divisions: Ten administrative regions
divided into 110 districts, each with its own District Assembly.
Below districts are various types of councils, including fiftyeight town or area councils, 108 zonal councils, and 626 area
councils. 16,000 unit committees on lowest level.
Judicial System: Legal system based on Ghanaian common
law, customary (traditional) law, and the 1992 constitution. Court
hierarchy consists of Supreme Court of Ghana (highest court), Court
of Appeal, and High Court of Justice. Beneath these bodies are
district, traditional, and local courts. Extrajudicial institutions
include public tribunals, vigilante groups, and asafo
companies. Since independence, courts relatively independent; this
independence continues under Fourth Republic. Lower courts being
redefined and reorganized under Fourth Republic.
Politics: Since mid-1992 political parties legal after
ten-year hiatus. Under Fourth Republic, major parties are National
Democratic Congress, led by Jerry John Rawlings, which won
presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992; New Patriotic
Party, major opposition party; People's National Convention, led by
former president Hilla Limann; and (new) People's Convention Party,
successor to Kwame Nkrumah's original party of same name.
Foreign Relations: Since independence, fervently devoted
to ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism, both closely
identified with first president, Kwame Nkrumah. Favors
international and regional political and economic cooperation.
Active member of United Nations and Organization of African Unity.
In 1994 President Rawlings elected chairman of Economic Community
of West African States.
Data as of November 1994