Belize: Country and Foreign Investment
This page was last updated on 14 April 2021.
Belize has a democratic, bicameral legislature based on the Westminster system. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is the titular Head of State; she is represented by the governor-general, a post which has been held by Sir Colville Young since 1993.
The 31-member House of Representatives is elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms. The governor-general appoints the leader of the House’s majority party to be prime minister. The governor-general also appoints the 13-member Senate: 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 United Democratic Party (UDP, leader Dean Barrow) and the People's United Party (PUP, led by Francis Fonseca). The last general election was held on 4 November 2015; the UDP gained 19 seats and the PUP 12. Dean Barrow, as leader of the largest party, is prime minister.
The legal system in Belize is 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) is the court of last instance for Belize, as it is a member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). This court also serves as an appeal court in both civil and criminal cases from common law courts in these member states.