Afghanistan is governed under the constitution of 2004. The president, who is both head of state and of government, is popularly elected for a five-year term and may serve a second term. The president appoints a cabinet, the members of which must be approved by the legislature. The bicameral legislature is called the National Assembly. The lower house, the House of the People (Wolesi Jirga), consists of no more than 249 members, who are directly elected to five-year terms. The upper house, the House of Elders (Meshrano Jirga), consists of 102 members, a third elected by provincial councils to four-year terms, a third elected by district councils to three-year terms, and the rest (half of whom must be women) appointed by the president to five-year terms. No law passed by the Assembly may be contrary to Islam. Administratively, the country is divided into 34 provinces.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.