Belize: Country and Foreign Investment
Belize has a democratic, bi-cameral legislature based on the Westminster system. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is the titular Head of State, represented by Governor General Sir Colville Young since 1993.
The 29-member House of Representatives is elected by direct popular vote to serve a 5-year term. The Governor-General appoints the member of the House of Representatives who is leader of the majority party to be prime minister. The Governor-General appoints the 12-member Senate from six members on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and one 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. The two main political parties are the People's United Party or PUP and the United Democratic Party or UDP (leader Dean Barrow). Elections were last held on 8 March, 2012, and gave 17 seats to UDP with 14 seats to PUP. Dean Barrow is Prime Minister.
Belize has a legal system based on common law. There is a Supreme Court, and the chief justice is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the prime minister. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the court of last instance for members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and also serves as an appeal court in both civil and criminal cases from common law courts in these member states.