Belize has enjoyed a long history of peace and stability. Belize attained complete independence from Britain in 1981, but it became a self-governing territory under the name of British Honduras already in 1964. The original name – Belize – was restored in 1973.
Now Belize is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as Sovereign, which is represented by Governor General Sir Colville Young since 1993. Belize has a democratic bi-cameral legislature based on the Westminster system.
Executive power belongs to the Minister Cabinet, under the leadership of the Prime Minister Said Wilbert Musa. He also chooses the ministers from the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Cabinet members should be approved by the Governor General.
Legislative power belongs to the Senate and the House of Representatives. The 12-member Senate is appointed by the Governor-General for 5 years, from 6 members on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the opposition's leader, and 1 each on the advice of the Belize Council of Churches, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the National Trade Union Congress. The 29-member House of Representatives consists is elected by direct popular vote for 5 years. The two major political parties are the Peoples United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party.
The legal system of Belize is based on common law. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the prime minister.