Constitution of Jamaica

Status: Monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II

Legislature: Parliament

Independence: 6 August 1962

Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. She is represented by a governor-general appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister. The country is a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature and party system, based on universal adult suffrage.

The 21 senators are appointed by the governor-general, 13 of them on the advice of the prime minister, and eight on the advice of the leader of the opposition. The House of Representatives has 63 directly elected members. The governor-general appoints the prime minister (the MP best able to lead the majority of the House) and leader of the opposition. The cabinet (prime minister and at least 11 ministers) has executive responsibility. Elections are held at intervals not exceeding five years.

The constitution may be amended by a simple majority of both houses except for the entrenched provisions (that can be amended only by two-thirds majority of both houses) and specially entrenched clauses (as above, plus ratification through referendum).