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Government of Belize

Belize Government Building

Belize achieved full independence on September 21, 1981. It is now a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of American States and the newly-formed Association of Caribbean States. Diplomatic relations have been established with many countries. Belize is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CAR ICOM) and related institutions.

The Government of Belize is operated on the principles of Parliamentary Democracy based on the Westminster System. The country is a sovereign, democratic state.

A Prime Minister and Cabinet make up the Executive Branch, while a 29-member elected House of Representatives and a nine-member appointed Senate form a bi-cameral legislature.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional Head of State. She is represented in Belize by a Governor-General, who must be a Belizean.

The Cabinet consists of a Prime Minister, other Ministers and Ministers of State who are appointed by the Governor-general on the advice of the Prime Minister, the person commanding the support of the majority party in the House of Representatives. Five Senators are appointed by the Governor-general on the advice of the Prime Minister, two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and one on the advice of the Belize Advisory Council.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate are elected either from among the members of these Houses (providing they are not ministers) or from among persons who are not members of either House.

The current Prime Minister of Belize is the Right Honorable Dean Barrow and the Belize City Mayor is Zenaida Moya.

Official Government of Belize website

Elections and Political Parties:

General elections are held at intervals of not longer than five years. The voting age is 18. The Prime Minister has the right to advise the Governor-general to dissolve the National Assembly and so determine the date of the general elections.

The most recent elections took place took place on 7th February 2008. The United Democratic Party (UDP) won 25 of the 31 seats in the House of Representatives, the remaining 6 were won by the People's United  Party (PUP).

Administration and Local Government:

There are six administrative districts: Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Toledo. With the abolition of the posts of the District Officers, the district administration is now jointly run by a number of Government functionaries, namely the Finance Officers, the Officer Commanding the District Police and the Heads of various Government departments based in the districts.

Each district town has a locally elected Town Board of seven members. The Cayo District has two Town Boards, namely, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo.

Belize City is administered by a nine-member City Council. There is also a Town Board in the Belize District, namely San Pedro Town Board in Ambergris Caye.

The Capital City of Belmopan is administered by the Belmopan City Council.

Local Government in the villages is carried on with the help of village councils who do not at present have a legal standing. A Village Councils Act to formally establish Village Councils is in the process of being enacted.

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