St. Lucia - Government

St. Lucia became independent in 1979. Under its constitution, the British monarch continues to be the titular head of government, appointing, upon recommendation of the local leaders, a governor-general to represent the crown. Executive power is effectively exercised by the prime minister and cabinet. There is a bicameral parliament consisting of a Senate with 11 members and a House of Assembly with 17 representatives. The House of Assembly has the important legislative functions. The Senate is an appointed body with little political power. The Senate has 11 members. Six of the members are appointed on the advice of the prime minister, three are appointed on the advice of the opposition leader, and two are appointed after consultation with religious, economic, and social groups.

Members of the lower house are elected for a maximum period of five years. Suffrage on St. Lucia has been universal for those 18 and older since 1951, before St. Lucia achieved independence.

Under the constitution, the government could call for elections at any time. Under the current schedule, elections are held by secret ballot and at least every five years.

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