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Politics in Jamaica


Jamaica is a stable, parliamentary democracy which operates as a constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth.

Under the Jamaican Constitution promulgated in 1962 at the time of Jamaica’s Independence, legislative power is vested in the parliament. Parliament consists of Her Majesty the Queen and two legislative houses, a nominated Senate with 21 members and an elected House of Representatives with 60 members. The Queen is represented in Jamaica by a Governor-General, who is appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister. Important acts by the Governor-General are carried out on the advice of the Prime Minister, including the appointment of members of the Cabinet of Ministers. Jamaica's current Governor-General is His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Linton Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KStJ, who was appointed Governor-General of Jamaica on 26th February 2009. .

The Governor-General is required to appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House of Representatives who commands the support of the majority of the members of that house, usually the head of the political party that has a majority of seats in parliament. The Prime Minister has the power to advise the Governor-General to dissolve parliament and to name the date of a general election at any time within the five years of the life of a parliament.

Executive power is vested in the Cabinet of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, who must account to the people through parliament. The Cabinet is responsible for the general direction and control of the government.

The current Prime Minister is the Most Honourable Andrew Michael Holness, O.N., M.P. Prime Minister Holness began his second reign as Prime Minister in March 3, 2016.

The Jamaican constitution secures the office of the Leader of the Opposition, who is the member of the House of Representatives who commands the support of the majority of those members who do not support the Government. The Leader of the Opposition nominates 8 of the 21 members of the Senate, with the remaining 13 nominated by the Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition is former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, O.N, M.P.

Jamaica has two main political parties: the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) now forms the Government; and the People's National Party (PNP) now forms the Opposition.

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