Prior to 1954 the members of the legislative assembly in the Gold Coast were chosen by tribal councils. 1954 marked the first election that was open to the general public to vote for their representatives. The elections were held after the ratification of a new constitution on April 29 of the same year. The number of seats were expanded from 38 in the previous election (1951) to 104, establishing a cabinet composed of African ministers and taking a crucial step toward the Gold Coast establishing sovereignty as the Republic of Ghana three years later in 1957. This elected legislature presented a proposal for Gold Coast independence to the British government in May of 1956 and agreed a date and terms leading to Ghana's independence on March 6, 1957.