Freedom in the World
You are here
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In November, the ruling Unity Labour Party and Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves suffered a major blow when a national referendum on constitutional reform was soundly defeated, ending a hotly disputed debate that had dominated the political scene in 2009.
On November 25, the constitutional reform failed to pass a national referendum, receiving support from only 43 percent of voters with 56 percent opposed. The apparent unpopularity of the constitutional reform, which would have required approval from a two-thirds majority of voters, places the ruling ULP in an awkward position with one year of the prime minister’s term remaining.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an electoral democracy. The December 2005 legislative elections were considered free and fair by international observers. The constitution provides for the election of 15 representatives to the unicameral House of Assembly to serve five-year terms. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party. Six senators are appointed to the chamber—four chosen by the government and two by the opposition. A governor-general represents the British monarch as head of state.