Politics of Dominica

Politics of Dominica takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Dominica is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the House of Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Executive branch

President
Nicholas Liverpool|
7 October 2003
-
Prime Minister
Roosevelt Skerritt
DLP
8 January 2004
-
Leader of the Opposition
Earl Williams
UWP
16 July 2007

A president and prime minister make up the executive branch. Nominated by the prime minister in consultation with the leader of the opposition party, the president is elected for a 5-year term by the parliament. The president appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the parliament and also appoints, on the prime minister's recommendation, members of the parliament from the ruling party as cabinet ministers. The prime minister and cabinet are responsible to the parliament and can be removed on a no-confidence vote.

Legislative branch

The House of Assembly has 32 members. 21 members are elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies. 9 members are senators appointed by the President; 5 on the advice of the Prime Minister and 4 on the advice of the leader of the opposition. A Speaker is elected by the elected members after an election. There is also 1 ex-officio member, the clerk of the house. The head of state - the president -is elected by the House of Assembly. The regional representatives decide whether senators are to be elected or appointed. If appointed, five are chosen by the president with the advice of the prime minister and four with the advice of the opposition leader. If elected, it is by vote of the regional representatives. Elections for representatives and senators must be held at least every 5 years, although the prime minister can call elections any time. Dominica has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party. Dominica was once a three-party system, but in the past few years the Dominica Labour Party and the greatly diminished Dominica Freedom Party have built a coalition.

Political parties and elections

Judicial branch

Dominica's legal system is based on English common law. There are three magistrate's courts, with appeals made to the Eastern Caribbean court of appeal and, ultimately, to the Privy Council in London. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (located in Saint Lucia), one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

Administrative divisions

Councils elected by universal suffrage govern most towns. Supported largely by property taxation, the councils are responsible for the regulation of markets and sanitation and the maintenance of secondary roads and other municipal amenities. The island also is divided into 10 parishes, whose governance is unrelated to the town governments: Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Luke, Saint Mark, Saint Patrick, Saint Paul, Saint Peter.

International organization participation

ACCT, ACP, ALBA, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, NAM (observer), OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Further reading

* Matthias Catón: "Dominica" in: "Elections in the Americas. A Data Handbook", vol. 1, ed. by Dieter Nohlen. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005: pp. 223–237 ISBN 0-19-928357-5


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