Government Structure

Afghanistan is an Islamic, independent, unitary, and indivisible state.

The President is the head of state elected by receiving more than fifty percent (50%) of votes cast by voters in elections. The president is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Afghanistan’s Executive Branch is comprised of Ministers working under the chairpersonship of the president. Ministers are appointed by the National Assembly, their duties are regulated by law. Ministers are required to perform their duties as head of administrative units within the framework of the constitution.

Legislative Branch The National Assembly of Afghanistan forms the highest legislative organ of the nation. It is made up of two houses: the Lower House known as the House of People or Wolesi Jirga; and the Upper House, known as House of Elders or Meshrano Jirga.

The National Assembly ratifies, amends, and repeals laws. It also approves government programs and budget, changes ministries, and ratifies treaties.

The Wolesi Jirga consists of 249 seats distributed according to provincial population estimates, with at least two seats per province. Members of the lower house are elected by Single Non-transferable Vote (SNTV). The lower house is primarily tasked to draft and ratify laws. The Wolesi Jirga can also move for a vote of no confidence against a minister, approve or reject appointments made by the President, appoint commissions to investigate the actions of the government.

The Meshrano Jirga is composed of 102 members, 34 are elected by district councils (one per province) for a three-year term, 34 by provincial councils (one per province) for a four-year term, and 34 are nominated by the president for a five-year term. The House of Elders primarily has an advisory role and it has certain veto powers.

Loya Jirga Afghanistan also has a special type of assembly known as the Loya Jirga or “grand assembly.“ It is convened to decide on issues related to independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity as well as supreme national interests; and impeach the President in accordance with the provisions Constitution.

The Loya Jirga is the highest manifestation of the people of Afghanistan and it is made up of the National Assembly and the presidents of the provincial as well as district assemblies. Ministers, Chief Justice, Supreme Court members, and attorney general also participate in Loya Jirga sessions but without voting rights.

Local Administrative Units Afghanistan’s constitution provides for decentralization of power to local administrations in order to accelerate and improve economic and social development. It also aims to foster people’s participation in developing national life.

Provinces The local administrative unit is the province. There are thirty-four (34) provinces in Afghanistan that are subdivided into districts, municipalities, and villages. Each of Afghanistan’s Province is headed by a governor who is appointed by the President.

There is also the Provincial Council wherein the voters of that province directly elect its members. The provincial council is mandated to participate in the attainment of the development objectives of the state and in the improvement of the affairs of the province. They are obliged to elect by majority, from amongst their own elected members, one person to represent the province in the Meshrano Jirga for a term of four years.

Municipalities Provinces are also further subdivided into municipalities to facilitate administrative affairs. Municipal Mayors and members of Municipal Councils are elected through direct elections. Law regulates all matters relating to the administrative affairs of the municipality.

The Judiciary Afghanistan has an independent judiciary comprised of one Supreme Court, court of appeal, and primary courts.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial organ heading the judicial power of the country.

Afghanistan courts are required to hold trials openly and every individual have the right to attend in accordance with the law.

The courts shall apply the Shia jurisprudence in cases involving personal matters of followers of the Shia sect in accordance with the provisions of the law. In other cases, if no clarification in this Constitution and other laws exist, the courts shall rule according to laws of this sect.

Judges are recommended by the Supreme Court and approved by the President.

The Supreme Court is comprised of nine members, appointed by the President with the endorsement of the Wolesi Jirga. The President also appoints one of its members as Chief Justice.

Resources :

LINK : Administrative Division (Geo Names) – Administrative division- including provinces and their capital city LINK : Political Map of Afghanistan (Maps of World)

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