The Bahamas Government, known as the Commonwealth of Bahamas, was first formed when the country achieved its independence on the 10th of July 1973 from Great Britain. Though it is considered an independent and sovereign nation, it is still part of the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the state though it is merely titular. She is represented by the appointed Governor General in Bahamas. As a constitutional parliamentary democracy, the Bahamas government is headed by the Prime Minister. The seat of Government is Nassau, the capital of Bahamas.
The Structure of Bahamas Government
The Prime Minister, as head of the state, and the cabinet members, who are selected by him, are in charge of exercising the executive power of the Bahamas government. The legislative power belongs to a bicameral parliament. The upper house, which is the Senate, consists of 16 members who were appointed by the Governor General. The lower house, called the House of Assembly, consists of 41 members who were elected by the people. The judiciary branch is independent of the other two branches. The members of this branch, from the Chief of Justice to the magistrates are all appointed by the Governor General. The Bahamas local government is present in all of the islands except for New Providence which is governed by the central government. It is composed of 38 districts, each with their own local councilors and town committees that facilitate the use of public funds for their respective constituencies.
Based on a parliamentary democracy framework, elections in Bahamas are overseen by the Parliamentary Registration Department led by a Parliamentary Commissioner. The commissioner is appointed by the Governor General and is responsible for the registration of voters. Bahamas locals are considered eligible to vote if they are at least 18 years of age, are citizens of Bahamas, and have resided in their constituency for at least 3 months.
Every 5 years, an election for the members of the House of Assembly is held. The Bahamas local government also has an election of its own, occurring every 3 years. In both elections, the candidate with the most number of votes wins. It is not necessary for the winning candidate to receive a majority of all the votes.
The Governor General of Bahamas
As the Queen’s viceregal representative, the Governor General serves at Her Majesty’s pleasure. This means that he possesses all legitimate authority of government and has no set time limit in office. However, for the Bahamas government, Governor Generals hold the position for an average of 5 years. The Governor General resides in the Government House which is located in Nassau. Aside from the appointing the members of the Senate and the Judiciary branch, he is also responsible for appointing the Prime Minister.