Short for BC by Abbreviationfinder, Botswana is a parliamentary republic and one of Africa’s most stable countries. The country has had a democratic governance since independence in 1966. Fundamental civil liberties are generally respected and the judiciary is considered to be independent. The president has relatively great power despite being elected indirectly, by the National Assembly.
The constitution was adopted in connection with independence, although some changes have been made since then.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Botswana for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The National Assembly which establishes the laws has 63 members. Of these, 57 are elected in direct majority elections in one-man constituencies, for a term of five years. Four members are nominated by the president (of the largest party) and the last two members are the president and the country’s highest legal official (most closely resembled a justice chancellor).
The President, who is head of state and government, is appointed by the National Assembly. The National Assembly cannot dismiss the president, but the president can dissolve parliament. The president is also commander-in-chief, appoints ministers and leads government work. A president can be elected for a maximum of two terms.
In certain matters, including those relating to customary law and amendments to the constitution, an advisory house, the Chiefs’ House, is expressed . It was long the chiefs of the eight traditional Tswana people (see Population and Languages). Following complaints from other ethnic groups, it was expanded in 2006 and now consists of 35 members. However, there is still criticism against the fact that Tswana’s traditions take precedence over civil law issues such as inheritance and marriage.
Local elections are made for council assemblies in the country’s nine districts, while the five largest cities have their own city council. In the countryside there is a large number of city councils.
In addition to local courts, there is an intermediate level, the High Court, and a Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal. Previously, all the judges were in the higher courts from other countries of the Commonwealth (Britain and the former British colonies), but in the High Court all are now bots and a gradual transition is underway in the Court of Appeal.
Alongside the civil justice system, there are traditional courts that deal mainly with minor disputes and thefts in rural areas under customary law. They sometimes judge sentencing. However, individuals are always entitled to be tried under the ordinary legal system if they so wish. A 2013 court decision on inheritance law clearly gave preference to civil law before traditional law (see Social conditions).
Politics is dominated by the Liberal Conservative Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has won all elections since independence. The party has the strongest support in the countryside. The BDP has been accused of circumventing democracy as the party in the recent elections let the president resign a year before the end of the term, so that the vice president has to take over and rule for upcoming elections. The ruling party opposes the opposition’s demand for a more proportional electoral system, which would favor smaller parties.
Defenders from BDP as well as some independent actors formed Botswana’s Democracy Movement (Botswana Movement for Democracy, BMD) in 2010 which soon became a leading opposition party. BMD presented itself as a younger, more progressive alternative to BDP.
The traditionally largest opposition party, the Botswana National Front (Botswana National Front, BNF) and BMD, formed the Alliance for Democratic Change (UDC) in 2012 . The alliance also included the small Botswana People’s Party (BPP). UDC ran for election in 2014 and then received significantly more support than any opposition group had previously received.
The Botswana Congress Party (Botswana Congress Party, BCP), which was formed following an outbreak of BNF in 1998, has a social democratic image. BCP initially chose to stand outside the UDC but joined the alliance ahead of the 2019 election.
In 2019, a new crack occurred in the BDP when ex-president Ian Khama left the party in protest of his successor Mokgweetsi Masi’s policy. Ian Khama and his supporters then founded a new party – the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) – which managed to enter parliament at the fall 2019 elections.