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Politics of Antigua and Barbuda

Government 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. Antigua and Barbuda has a bicameral legislature: a 17-member Senate appointed by the governor general -- mainly on the advice of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition -- and a 17-member popularly elected House of Representatives. 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.

Antigua and Barbuda has a multiparty political system with a long history of hard fought elections, two of which have resulted in peaceful changes of government. The opposition, however, claims to be disadvantaged by the ruling party's longstanding monopoly on patronage and its control of the electronic media.

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

Principal Government Officials
Chief of State--Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General--Sir James Carlisle
Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs--Lester Bryant Bird
Ambassador to the U.S. and the OAS--Lionel A. Hurst
Ambassador to the United Nations--Patrick Albert Lewis

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda

Data code: AC

Government type: constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament

Capital: Saint John's

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

Independence: 1 November 1981 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 November (1981)

Constitution: 1 November 1981

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General James B. CARLISLE (since NA 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Lester Bryant BIRD (since 8 March 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general chosen by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; prime minister appointed by the governor general

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (17-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Representatives (17 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 9 March 1999 (next to be held NA March 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ALP 12, UPP 4, independent 1

Judicial branch: 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)

Political parties and leaders: Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement or ACLM [leader NA]; Antigua Labor Party or ALP [Lester Bryant BIRD]; Barbuda People's Movement or BPM [leader NA]; Progressive Labor Movement or PLM [leader NA]; United National Democratic Party or UNDP [leader NA]; United Progressive Party or UPP [Baldwin SPENCER], a coalition of three opposition political parties - UNDP, ACLM, and PLM

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

Flag description: red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band

Reference Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.



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