The Himachal Pradesh
Legislative Assembly has no pre-Constitution history. The State
itself is a post-Independence creation. It came into being as a
centrally administered territory on 15 April 1948 from the
integration of thirty erstwhile princely states.
Himachal Pradesh is governed through a parliamentary system of
representative democracy, a feature the state shares with other
Indian states. Universal suffrage is granted to residents.
The legislature, consists of elected members and special office
bearers such as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, that are elected by
the members. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker or
the Deputy Speaker in the Speaker's absence. The judiciary is
composed of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and a system of lower
courts. Executive authority is vested in the Council of Ministers
headed by the Chief Minister, although the titular head of
government is the Governor. The Governor is the head of state
appointed by the President of India. The leader of the party or
coalition with a majority in the Legislative Assembly is appointed
as the Chief Minister by the Governor, and the Council of Ministers
are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
The Council of Ministers reports to the Legislative Assembly. The
Assembly is unicameral with 68 Members of the Legislative Assembly,
or MLAs, Terms of office run for 5 years, unless the Assembly
is dissolved prior to the completion of the term. Auxiliary
authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are
regularly held, govern local affairs.
In 2003, the state legislative assembly was won by the Indian
National Congress and Virbhadra Singh was elected as the chief
minister of the state. Governments have seen alternates between BJP
& Congress all the times. No third front ever has become
significant. In the assembly elections held in December 2007 , the
Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prem Kumar Dhumal secured a landslide
victory. The BJP won 41 of the 68 seats while the ruling Indian
National Congress won only 23 of the 68 seats. Prem Kumar Dhumal was
sworn in as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on 30 December 2007.