Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy. The
British monarch is formally the head of state but the
political power is exercised by the prime minister and
the government. Jamaica is a member of the Commonwealth,
which includes Britain and former British colonies.
The constitution is from independence in 1962.
According to it, the British monarch on the island is
represented by a general governor, who is appointed on a
proposal by the prime minister and opposition leader.
The governor-general basically acts only on the advice
of the government. There is political agreement that the
monarchy should be abolished and the republic
Total population and chart of Jamaica for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
Parliament consists of two chambers, the
House of Representatives (also called the lower
house) and the Senate (the upper
The House of Representatives has up to 63 members.
They are elected in general elections, through majority
elections in one-man constituencies. Elections are held
for a maximum of five years; the prime minister can
choose to announce elections earlier. The House of
Representatives has the main responsibility for the
legislative work and controls the budget.
The 21 senators are appointed by the Governor-General
- 13 on the advice of the Prime Minister and 8 on the
proposal of the opposition leader. Their term of office
is five years. The Senate is reviewing laws and may
delay their adoption.
Formally, it is the governor-general who appoints the
prime minister, but in practice it is the leader of
parliament's largest party that gets the prime
minister's post. The government is responsible for the
House of Representatives and can fall if a vote of no
confidence is held. Then new elections are announced.
The country is divided into 14 districts (parish)
with locally elected parishes. Elections for these
should be held every three years, but delays are common.
The judicial system is designed according to a
British model with the Privy Council in London as the
last instance for appeal. Jamaica co-founded the United
Kingdom Independent Caribbean Supreme Court (CCJ). The
Court which began its work in 2005 is intended to become
the highest court in most of the Commonwealth Member
States in the Caribbean. The PNP has tried to enforce
that the Privy Council is replaced by the CCJ in Jamaica
but was hindered when the support in the Senate has not
been sufficient. The JLP has previously opposed the
change but the JLP government that took office in 2016
has promised a referendum on the issue.
Jamaican politics has been dominated by two major
parties since the 1940s: the Jamaica Labor Party
(Jamaica Labor Party, JLP),
which despite its name is a right-wing party, and the
Socialist People's Nationalist Party
(People's National Party, PNP).
JLP was formed in 1943 as a political branch of the
trade union movement Bustamante Industrial Trade Union.
The ties between the two are still strong today. The
party stands for a business-friendly policy and
advocates close relations with the United States. JLP
has been led by Andrew Holness since 2011.
PNP was founded in 1938 and works closely with the
trade union movement National Workers Union. The party
previously had a distinct socialist program but over
time has moved towards the center. The PNP seems to be
converting Jamaica into a republic, and has a greater
focus on social efforts than the JLP, but otherwise the
ideological differences between the parties are now
small. PNP has been headed by Peter Phillips since
Typical of Jamaican politics is that trade unions
have great influence and that the parties also have
contacts with street gangs that are used during election
campaigns (see below) (see Modern history).
The few small parties that exist have no political