The Belizean government is also known as “Her Majesty's Government of Belize”. After gaining independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981, the island nation of Belize adopted a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy system of government. Under this arrangement, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, who holds the title of Queen of Belize, is the symbolic head of state. She is represented locally by the governor general. The executive power in Belize is exercised by the cabinet comprised of ministers appointed by the governor general from majority party members of parliament, with advice from the prime minister. The prime minister heads the elections and therefore is the head of government. The bicameral legislature has 31 members of parliament and 12 members of senate.
As a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, Belize is required by the constitution to hold elections for members to serve in parliament every five years. The house has 31 members who are elected by popular vote. The last elections were held on November 4, 2015, and the next elections will be held in 2020. Belize is a small country with a population of only 360,346. The political arena is dominated by just two major political parties: the Peoples’ United Party and United Democratic Party. Eighteen years is the legal voting age. The governor general appoints the 12 senators. Six members are appointed on advice from the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and one each by churches, trade unions, chamber of commerce, the business community, and civil society. Apart from the governor general, who is the Queens appointee, all the other leadership positions are either elective or appointed and they are limited to a five-year term.
The National Assembly building, designed in a Pre-Columbian Maya architectural design, was built in 1970 on Melhado Parade, off Constitution drive in Belmopan. The new location has housed both the lower house and the Senate. The current governor general, Sir. Colville Young, takes up official residence in Belize House, a former British High Commission in Belmopan, situated precisely 700 yards from the National Assembly house.
In general, the political scene in Belize is dominated by two parties only. They are the United Democratic Party and the People's United Party.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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