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Antigua and Barbuda Politics

The politics of Antigua and Barbuda takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, wherein the Sovereign of Antigua and Barbuda is the head of state, appointing a Governor-General to act as vice-regal representative in the nation. A Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General as the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system; the Prime Minister advises the Governor-General on the appointment of a Council of Ministers. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Parliament. The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (seventeen-member body appointed by the Governor General) and the House of Representatives (seventeen seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms).

Antigua and Barbuda has a long history of hard fought elections, two of which have resulted in peaceful changes of government. Since 1949 the party system is dominated by the persona list Antigua Labour Party (ALP); prior to the most recent elections, the opposition claimed to be disadvantaged by the ALP's longstanding monopoly on patronage and its control of the electronic media. The last elections held were on 23 March 2004, for the House of Representatives; the next are due in 2009. The Antigua Labour Party won four seats, while the United Progressive Party won thirteen.

Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the eastern Caribbean court system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Jurisprudence is based on English common law.

Executive branch

As head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is represented in Antigua and Barbuda by a governor general who acts on the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet.

Main office holders

Office

Name

Party

Since

Queen

Elizabeth II

 

6 February 1952

Governor-General

Louise Lake-Tack

 

17 July 1993

Prime Minister

Baldwin Spencer

UPP

March 2004

 

Legislative branch

Antigua and Barbuda elects on national level a legislature. Parliament has two chambers. The House of Representatives has 19 members, 17 members elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies, 1 ex-officio member and 1 Speaker. The Senate has 17 appointed members. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party in the House and conducts affairs of state with the cabinet. The prime minister and the cabinet are responsible to the Parliament. Elections must be held at least every five years but may be called by the prime minister at any time.
Political parties and elections


Summary of the 23 March 2004 House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda election results

Parties

Votes

%

+/-

Seats

+/-

United Progressive Party

21,892

52.9

+8.5

12

+8

Antigua Labour Party

16,544

41.7

-11.2

4

-8

Barbuda People's Movement

400

1.0

-0.3

1

-

Barbuda People's Movement for Change

400

1.0

-

-

-

Others

391

1.0

-

-

-

Total

39,627

100.0

 

17

 

Administrative divisions

6 parishes and 2 dependencies*; Barbuda*, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip

Judicial branch

The Judicial Branch is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction). Antigua is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Supreme Court of Appeal was the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, up until 2001, when the nations of the Caribbean Community voted to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council in favour of a Caribbean Court of Justice. Some debate between member countries had repeatedly delayed the court's date of inauguration. As of March, 2005, only Barbados was set to replace the process of appeals to Her Majesty in Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice which then had come into operation.
Political pressure groups and leaders
Antigua Trades and Labor Union or ATLU [William ROBINSON]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Hugh MARSHALL]
International organization participation
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Antigua_and_Barbuda

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