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Belize Politics

State and politics

Belize is a parliamentary democracy. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how BZ can stand for Belize. The Constitution of 1981 states that the British monarch is the head of state and is represented by a Belizean governor-general. To his assistance, the Governor-General has the Belize Advisory Council whose members he appoints himself, partly in consultation with the opposition leader. The Governor-General appoints the Prime Minister. Other Ministers are appointed by the Governor-General on a proposal by the Prime Minister.

Political System of Belize

Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The twelve members of the Senate are appointed by the Governor-General, six of them on the proposal of the Prime Minister, three on the proposal of the opposition leader and three on the recommendation of various civil society organizations. The House of Representatives consists of 31 members who are elected by majority vote in one-man constituencies for five years.

The two leading parties are the Social Democratic People's United Party (PUP) and the more conservative United Democratic Party (UDP), formed in 1973. The 1998 and 2003 elections were won by the PUP, but in 2008 the UDP returned to power. UDP leader Dean Barrow became the country's first black prime minister historically. The UDP retained government power after the 2012 election, but backed from 25 to 17 seats in the House of Representatives. See also History.

Judiciary

The country consists of a number of judicial districts with local courts. The central courts are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Family Court. The substantive right is based almost entirely on English law. The death penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.

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