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Jamaica has a history as a stable parliamentary democracy since gaining its independence from Britain in 1962. The country remains a member of the Commonwealth, still holding Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state, who is represented locally by the Governor General. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government.

Jamaica has its own constitution which sets out the laws by which the people are governed. Jamaica’s parliamentary democracy is based on the Westminster model, with a functional two-party system. Under this system of government, the prime minister and his/her cabinet are responsible to the legislature, and universal suffrage exists for citizens over the age of eighteen. Jamaica’s parliament consists of two Houses - the Senate or the Upper House and the House of Representatives or the Lower House. General Elections to select Members of Parliament (MPs) for the House of Representatives are held every five years.  There are 63 seats in the House of Representatives. 

Despite these positives, Jamaica faces many challenges which the Government and people have been working to overcome. National priorities include human rights, safety and security, restoring social capital, strengthening the restorative and delivery mechanisms of the justice system, public sector reform and local governance reform.

UNDP believes good governance is essential for realizing the stable environment necessary for inclusive growth and development.

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