Browse the listing below to find government information for Belize, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Belize at its
Belize Country Page.
Independence: September 21, 1981.
Constitution: September 21, 1981.
Branches: Executive--British monarch (head of state), represented by a governor general; prime minister (head of government, 5-year term). Legislative--bicameral National Assembly. Judicial--Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, district magistrates.
Subdivisions: Six districts.
Political parties: People's United Party (PUP), United Democratic Party (UDP), National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR).
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Belize is a parliamentary democracy on the Westminster model and is a member of the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented in the country by Governor General Dr. Colville N. Young, Sr., a Belizean and Belize's second governor general. The primary executive organ of government is the cabinet, led by a prime minister (head of government). Cabinet ministers are members of the majority political party in parliament and usually hold elected seats in the National Assembly concurrently with their cabinet positions.
The National Assembly consists of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The 29 members of the House are popularly elected to a maximum 5-year term. Of the senate's 12 members, the Governor General appoints six in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, 3 with the advice of the leader of the opposition, one each with the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee. The Senate is headed by a president, who is a nonvoting member appointed by the governing party.
Currently, the Belize Government is controlled by the People's United Party (PUP), which was elected to a second consecutive term in office on March 5, 2003. The PUP won 22 of the 29 seats in the House of Representatives, while the United Democratic Party (UDP) won the other seven seats. Dean Barrow is the leader of the opposition. The PUP governed Belize from 1998-2003; the UDP from 1993-98; the PUP from 1989-1993; and the UDP from 1984-89. Before 1984, the PUP had dominated the electoral scene for more than 30 years and was the party in power when Belize became independent in 1981.
Prime Minister Said Musa has an ambitious plan to encourage economic growth while furthering social-sector development. Belize traditionally maintains a deep interest in the environment and sustainable development. A lack of government resources seriously hampers these goals. On other fronts, the government is working to improve its law enforcement capabilities. A long-running territorial dispute with Guatemala continues, although cooperation between the two countries has increased in recent years across a wide spectrum of common interests, including trade and environment. Seeing itself as a bridge, Belize is actively involved with the Caribbean nations of CARICOM, and also has taken steps to work more closely with its Central American neighbors as a member of SICA (Central American Integration System). Belize assumed the Presidency of SICA for a 6-month period beginning July 1, 2003.
Members of the independent judiciary are appointed. The judicial system includes local magistrates, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal. Cases may, under certain circumstances, be appealed to the Privy Council in London. However, in 2001 Belize joined with most members of CARICOM to work for the establishment of a "Caribbean Court of Justice," which is expected to come into being in the near future. The country is divided into six districts: Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek, and Toledo.