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Barbados Political System

Political system

Barbados is a stable parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth (Britain and its former colonies). The British monarch is the head of state and is represented on the island by a Governor General. The government has real political power and both the dominant political parties have said they want to make Barbados a republic.

The government is made up of the prime minister and a further five ministers. The government is responsible to the Legislative Parliament, which was founded in 1639 and is thus one of the world's oldest.

Parliament consists of the House of Representatives (House of Assembly) with 30 elected members and a Senate with 21 members. The Governor-General appoints the senators; seven elect themselves while twelve are proposed by the prime minister and two by the opposition leader. General elections are held at the House of Representatives for a maximum of five years. The voting age is 18 years.

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Barbados for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

Since the mid-1990s, a constitutional reform has been prepared to make Barbados a republic. A referendum on the constitutional changes would have been held, first in 2005 and since 2008, but it has been postponed in the future. Ahead of the 2013 election, the government promised to prepare the country for a move to the Republic of 2016, in connection with the 50th anniversary of independence, but neither did it. The plan is to set up a ceremonial presidential post to replace the British monarch.

Administratively, Barbados is divided into 11 parishes and the capital Bridgetown.

Political System of BarbadosPolitical parties

Two parties completely dominate the political scene: the Barbados Labor Party (Barbados Labor Party, BLP) and the Democratic Labor Party (Democratic Labor Party, DLP). Both are middle-left parties and the ideological difference is small. Sometimes BLP is seen as a bit more entrepreneurial-friendly, while DLP takes more care of “ordinary barbarians” needs. There are also some small parties but since 1999 no party besides the two big ones has had a seat in Parliament.


The judiciary is similar to the British. As in other parts of the former British Caribbean, the Privy Council in London has long been the supreme court for judicial appeals. However, Barbados is one of the countries that has chosen to have a joint regional court, the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) in Trinidad and Tobago, take over as the highest court. CCJ was established in April 2005 as a body within Caricom and the court also decides on issues related to Caricom's common market CSME (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).

The death penalty can be meted out, but no one has been executed in the country since 1984. There is a strong public opinion on the death penalty but pressure to abolish the death penalty exists from both the CCJ and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), which is an independent body within the OAS.

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