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The 1993 constitution that established the Fourth Republic provided a basic charter for the republican democratic government. It declares Ghana to be a unitary republic with sovereignty residing in the Ghanaian people. Intended to prevent future coups, dictatorial government, and one-party states, it is designed to establish the concept of power sharing. The document reflects lessons learned from the abrogated constitutions of 1957, 1960, 1969, and 1979, and incorporates provisions and institutions drawn from British and American constitutional models. One controversial provision of the constitution indemnifies members and appointees of the PNDC from liability for any official act or omission during the years of PNDC rule. The constitution calls for a system of checks and balances, with power shared between a president, a unicameral parliament, an advisory Council of State, and an independent judiciary.

Executive authority is established in the Office of the Presidency, together with his Council of State. The president is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. He also appoints the vice president. According to the constitution, more than half of the presidential-appointed ministers of state must be appointed from among members of Parliament.

Legislative functions are vested in Parliament, which consists of a unicameral 230-member body plus the Speaker. To become law, legislation must have the assent of the president, who has a qualified veto over all bills except those to which a vote of urgency is attached. Members of Parliament are popularly elected by universal adult suffrage for terms of 4 years, except in wartime, when terms may be extended for not more than 12 months at a time beyond the 4 years.

The structure and the power of the judiciary are independent of the two other branches of government. The Supreme Court has broad powers of judicial review. It is authorized by the constitution to rule on the constitutionality of any legislation or executive action at the request of any aggrieved citizen. The hierarchy of courts derives largely from British juridical forms. The hierarchy, called the Superior Court of Judicature, is composed of the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice, regional tribunals, and such lower courts or tribunals as Parliament may establish. The courts have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters.

The current President, Mr John Atta Mills was elected in December 2008 with a wafer-thin margin of victory over the candidate of the then governing New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo. His predecessor, John Kufuor, had to step down after having served the maximum permitted two four-year terms.

It was Mr Mill's third attempt to win the presidency, after defeat in 2000 and 2004 to Mr Kufuor. During the campaign, Mr Mills, the candidate of the National Democratic Congress, described himself as a social democrat inspired by the social welfare ideas of the country's first independence-era president, Kwame Nkrumah.

John Atta Mills was born on 21 July 1944 in the western town of Tarkwa. He studied law at the University of Ghana and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.