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Belize's Political System

Since independence from the United Kingdom in 1981, Belize has been a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary-democratic unity state. The head of state is the British monarch, represented in Belize by a general governor. The supreme executive power lies with the prime minister and the government. It is responsible to the National Assembly, which consists of a Senate with 12 members, appointed by the Governor-General, and a people-elected (for five years) House of Representatives with 31 members elected in individual circles. The voting age is 18 years.

The policy is dominated by two parties, the People's United Party (PUP, center-left) and United Democratic Party (UDP, center-right). In the February 2008 election, the former opposition party got UDP 56.6% of the vote and 25 of the 31 seats in the House of Representatives. Belize must be characterized as a relatively stable state. Fractionation within the parties, however, has created unrest, as has the ethnic diversity and relationship with Guatemala, which has territorial requirements.

Government and Politics of Belize

Belize is administratively divided into six districts. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BZ and its meanings of Belize.

Judiciary

The judiciary is based on English legal tradition. There are summary jurisdictions (criminal cases) and district courts (civil cases), headed by magistrates. Decisions in these courts can be appealed to the Supreme Court and from there to a separate appeals court with four judges; the Judiciary Committee of the British Privy Council deals with the appeal at last.

The national anthem

Is O Land of the Free, with lyrics by Samuel Alfred Haynes and melody by Selwyn Walford Young. It was written in 1963 and officially adopted as a national anthem 1981.

Coins, measures and weight

The currency unit is the Belizean dollar (currency code BZD) at 100 cents.

British measuring and weight units are in use. Also, the American gallon and some custom Latin American units are used.

International relations

Belize is a member of the UN and most of the UN's special organizations, including The World Bank and the World Trade Organization, besides the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, the Cotonou Agreement and Caricom.

Norway is represented in Belize at its embassy in Guatemala, as well as Consulate General in Belmopan.

Defense

In 1990 Belize took full responsibility for the Belizean defense forces. The defense is based on a combination of police and volunteer forces. Important tasks include coastguard and the fight against smuggling. The total forces in 2013 amounted to about 1050 personnel, with a reserve of 700. In addition, a coast guard with 150 personnel.

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