State and politics
Antigua and Barbuda are an independent member of the
Commonwealth. The British monarch is the head of state and
is represented by a general governor who is a citizen of the
country. Parliament consists of two chambers. The Senate has
17 members, who are appointed by the Governor-General on a
proposal by the Prime Minister (eleven senators) and the
opposition leader (four senators). The House of
Representatives consists of 18 members, 17 of whom are
elected by majority vote in one-man constituencies; In
addition, the President, elected by the Members of
Parliament. Parliament's term of office is five years and
the voting age is 18 years.
The Governor-General appoints to the Prime Minister the
member of the House of Representatives supported by a
majority of the members and on his proposal also other
The Antigua Labor Party (ALP), which has
dominated Antigua and Barbuda political life since 1976,
lost its majority in the March 2004 parliamentary elections
and a new head of government became Baldwin Spencer (born
1948) from the largest opposition party United
Progressive Party (UPP). A small party, the Barbuda
People's Movement (BPM), wants Barbuda, which is the
smaller of the country's two inhabited islands, to have a
special status and a significant influence over their own
local affairs. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of AG and its meanings of Antigua and Barbuda.
Although the ALP-led Bird family had close contact with
US billionaire Allen Stanford, who was indicted in 2009 and
later convicted of multi-billion-class fraud in the United
States, the ALP went ahead somewhat in the March 2009
election. UPP retained power and Spencer took over second
period as prime minister. In late 2012, Gaston Browne (born
1967) was elected new party leader for ALP, the first in
this role not named Bird in last name; however, he is a
close friend of the family and later married into the same.
The 2014 election was a great success for Browne and the
ruling party (which by then renamed the Antigua and
Barbuda Labor Party, ABLP), which received 56 percent
of the vote and 14 of 17 seats. ABLP's dominance was further
strengthened in the 2018 election as the party received 15
of the elective seats while UPP and BPM received one each.
Of the total number of MPs, two (11 per cent) were women.
The legal system is almost entirely based on English law.
Antigua and Barbuda have their own magistrates' courts
and the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, while the
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, based in Saint
Lucia, is shared with a number of other small estates with
English-inspired law. The highest court is the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council in London. The death
penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.