Country Listing

Belize Table of Contents



Government: Under 1991 constitution, constitutional monarchy with parliamentary government based on British model. Government divided into three independent branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. British monarch titular head of state, but represented by appointed governor general. Real political power held by prime minister, cabinet, and National Assembly composed of twenty-eight-member, elected House of Representatives and appointed Senate, usually of eight members. Prime minister elected by House of Representatives from its own ranks; members of both House of Representatives and Senate may be appointed to cabinet. Country divided into six districts; there is no corresponding district government. In Belize City and seven other towns, municipal councils elected. The judiciary branch has three levels: Magistrates' courts, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal.

Politics: Two-party democratic system dominated even before start of internal self-rule in 1964 by People's United Party (PUP). Rival United Democratic Party (UDP) has held power only once, 1984-1989. Following September 1989 election and subsequent defection of one UDP representative to PUP, the PUP held sixteento -twelve majority in House of Representatives. George Price, longtime leader of PUP, served as prime minister in 1991. PUP and UDP both took centrist-to-conservative political stance, endorsing free-market economy and close relations with United States. Price described PUP's orientation as Christian Democratic. The UDP considered to have probusiness outlook.

International Organizations: Member of United Nations and its specialized agencies; Organization of American States; Commonwealth of Nations; Caribbean Community and Common Market; and Nonaligned Movement.

Data as of January 1992