The sixty-five-member unicameral National Assembly constitutes
Guyana's legislative branch. Fifty-three members are directly
elected though a system of proportional representation, ten members
are elected by the regional democratic councils (local legislative
bodies for each region), and two members come from the Supreme
Congress of the People (a special national-level advisory group).
The National Assembly has the power to pass bills and
constitutional amendments, which are then sent to the executive
president for approval.
The National Assembly has six months to override the
presidential veto of a bill. Following an override, the executive
president has the authority to dissolve the assembly within twentyone days and call for new elections. President Burnham used this
authority to stifle parliamentary opposition during his
The 1980 constitution provides for the executive president to
appoint the minority leader, formerly known as the leader of the
opposition. The minority leader must be the elected member of the
National Assembly, who, in the president's judgment, is best able
to lead the opposition members of the National Assembly. Naming his
own chief opponent was yet another tool President Burnham used to
control the government apparatus.
Data as of January 1992