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Government

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Belize
former:British Honduras
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
name: Belmopan
geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 46 W
time difference:UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
6 districts; Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo
Independence:
21 September 1981 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1981)
Constitution:
21 September 1981
Legal system:
English law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Chief of State:Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)Head of Government:Prime Minister Dean BARROW (since 8 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar VEGA (since 12 February 2008)Cabinet:Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime ministerElections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branch:
Bicameral National Assembly consists of the Senate (12 seats; members appointed by the governor general – 6 on the advice of the prime minister, 3 on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Better Business Bureau, and the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives (31 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)Elections:House of Representatives – last held 6 February 2008 (Early elections to be held on March 7, 2012)Election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – UDP 25, PUP 6
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
National Alliance for Belizean Rights or NABR; National Reform Party or NRP [Cornelius DUECK]; People’s National Party or PNP [Wil MAHEIA]; People’s United Party or PUP [Said MUSA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Dean BARROW]; Vision Inspired by the People or VIP [Paul MORGAN]; We the People Reform Movement or WTP [Hipolito BAUTISTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Society for the Promotion of Education and Research or SPEAR [Gustavo PERERA]; Association of Concerned Belizeans or ACB [David VASQUEZ]; National Trade Union Congress of Belize or NTUC/B [Rene GOMEZ]
International organization participation:
ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Chief of Mission:Charge d’Affaires Nestor MENDEZChancery:2535 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008Telephone: [1] (202) 332-9636
FAX:[1] (202) 332-6888Consulate(s) General: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Chief of Mission:Ambassador Vinai ThummalapallyEmbassy:Floral Park Road, Belmopan City, Cayo DistrictMailing address:P.O. Box 497, Belmopan City, Cayo District, BelizeTelephone: [501] 822-4011
FAX: [501] 822-4012
Flag description:
Blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland.
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