Yemen is a republic with a bicameral legislature. The Constitution provides for the division of power, which is shared between a democratically elected president who holds executive powers, a democratically elected 301-seat House of Representatives which holds legislative powers, and an appointed 111-member Consultative Shoura Council. The Prime Minister leads the government and is appointed by the President. The President is elected by direct popular vote for a term of 7 years.
In February 2012, the country held presidential elections where President Abdurabu Mansour Hadi was elected President of the Republic of Yemen. The most recent parliamentary elections took place in April 2003.
The Constitution makes provision for an independent judiciary. The Yemeni legal structure comprises of separate commercial courts and a Supreme Court based in Sana’a. Since the country is an Islamic state, the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book, is recognized by the Constitution to be the basis for all laws and therefore the Qur’an and Islamic Sharia (legal interpretation of the Qur’an) take precedence over all other laws.
As of January 2004, Yemen has been divided into 20 governorates and a municipality namely: Sana’a (the Capital), Sana’a (the governorate), Aden, Ta’iz, Al-Dali’, Abyan, Raymah, Al-Bayda', Al-Hudaydah, Al-Jawf, Al-Mahrah, Al-Mahwit, 'Amran, Dhamar, Hadhramawt, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahj, Marib, Sa'dah, and Shabwa. For electoral and administrative purposes, the capital city of Sana’a is treated as an additional governorate. Ever since 2001, Yemen has embarked on a number of major decentralisation reforms which place more emphasis on local elections and the devolution of authority to the local level.