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.