Jamaica - Government



The 1962 constitution provides for a governor-general appointed by the crown, a cabinet presided over by a prime minister, and a bicameral legislature.

The Senate, the upper house, consists of 21 members appointed by the governor-general, 13 on the advice of the prime minister and 8 on the advice of the leader of the opposition. The popularly elected House of Representatives consists of 60 members (increased from 53 in 1976). The House is by far the more important of the two. The governor-general appoints both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. The normal term of office in parliament is five years, but elections can be called at any time. Suffrage is universal at age 18.

The cabinet consists of the prime minister and at least 11 additional ministers, appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister.

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