Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Global climate change remained a key issue for Tuvalu’s government in 2009, as rising sea levels continue to threaten the island’s existence. In January, Tuvalu received a $2 million grant from the Asian Development Bank to advance public financial management and governance systems.
Tuvalu is an electoral democracy. The 2006 elections were free and fair. The head of state, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by a governor-general who must be a citizen of Tuvalu. The prime minister, chosen by Parliament, leads the government. The unicameral, 15-member Parliament is elected to four-year terms. A six-person council administers each of the country’s nine atolls. Council members are chosen by universal suffrage for four-year terms.
Traditional customs and social norms condone discrimination against women and limit their role in society. Women enjoy equal access to education, but they remain underrepresented in positions of leadership in business and government. There are currently no women in Parliament.Violence against women is rare. Rape is a crime punishable by law, but spousal rape is not included in the definition. No law specifically targets sexual harassment.