Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago
Legislature: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago
Independence: 31 August 1962
Trinidad and Tobago is a unitary republic with a representative government and a degree of regional autonomy. The Head of State is a non-executive President elected by an electoral college comprising all the members of parliament. The executive is led by the Prime Minister who heads a cabinet chosen by him or her and responsible to parliament.
The legislature consists of the bicameral Parliament, with a directly elected 41-member House of Representatives and a 31-member Senate. Senators are appointed by the President, 16 on the advice of the Prime Minister, six on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and nine of the President’s own choice. Elections are held every five years.
Tobago has a regional house of assembly, set up in 1980, with certain local powers over finances and other delegated responsibilities. It has 12 elected members and several members appointed by the political parties. Constitutional amendments have granted Tobago greater control over urban and rural development, health, education and housing, though its assembly has no legislative powers.