According to the Constitution of India, Kerala has a parliamentary system of representative democracy; universal suffrage is granted to residents. The government is organised into the three branches:

Legislature: The unicameral legislature, the Kerala Legislative Assembly popularly known as Niyamasabha, comprises elected members and special office bearers; the Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected by the members from among themselves. Assembly meetings are presided over by the Speaker and in the Speaker’s absence, by the Deputy Speaker. The state has 140 assembly constituencies. The state elects 20 and 9 members for representation in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively.

Executive: The Governor of Kerala is the constitutional head of state, and is appointed by the President of India. P Sathasivam is the Governor of Kerala. The executive authority is headed by the Chief Minister of Kerala, who is the head of government and is vested with extensive executive powers; the head of the majority party in the Legislative Assembly is appointed to the post by the Governor. The Council of Ministers has its members appointed by the Governor, taking the advice of the Chief Minister. The executive administration is based in Thiruvananthapuram at State Secretariat complex. Each district has a district administrator appointed by government called District collector for executive administration. Auxiliary authorities known as panchayats, for which local body elections are regularly held, govern local affairs.

Judiciary: The judiciary consists of the Kerala High Court and a system of lower courts. The High Court, located in Kochi, has a Chief Justice along with 23 permanent and seven additional pro tempore justices as of 2012. The high court also hears cases from the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.