Bahamas, The: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
etymology: name derives from the Spanish "baha mar," meaning "shallow sea," which describes the shallow waters of the Bahama Banks
Government typeparliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
CapitalNassau Nassau
geographic coordinates: 25 05 N, 77 21 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
Administrative divisions31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama
Independence10 July 1973 (from the UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 10 July (1973)
Constitutionprevious 1964 (preindependence); latest adopted 20 June 1973, effective 10 July 1973; amended many times, last in 2016 (2016)
Legal systemcommon law system based on the English model
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of The Bahamas
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 6-9 years
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dame Marguerite PINDLING (since 8 July 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 8 May 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general on recommendation of prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve 5-year terms) and the House of Assembly (38 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
elections: last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held by May 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - PLP 48.6%, FNM 42.1%, DNA 8.5%, other.8%; seats by party - PLP 29, FNM 9
Judicial branchhighest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, organized in 3-member panels); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 9 justices – as of 2015)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition party; other Court of Appeal and Supreme Court justices appointed by the governor general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body headed by the chief justice; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 68, but can be extended until age 70; Supreme Court justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65, but can be extended until age 67
subordinate courts: Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates' Courts; Family Island Administrators

note: as of 2008, the Bahamas was not a party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest appellate court for the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for The Bahamas
Political parties and leadersDemocratic National Alliance (Branville MCCARTNEY)
Free National Movement or FNM (Hubert MINNIS)
Progressive Liberal Party or PLP (Perry CHRISTIE)
Political pressure groups and leadersFriends of the Environmentother: trade unions
International organization participationACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Eugene Glenwood NEWRY (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 319-2660
FAX: (1) (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Lisa A. JOHNSON (since 9 July 2014
embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence
mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; US Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370
telephone: (1) (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX: (1) (242) 356-7174
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea
National symbol(s)blue marlin, flamingo, Yellow Elder flower; national colors: aquamarine, yellow, black
National anthemname: "March On, Bahamaland!"
lyrics/music: Timothy GIBSON

note: adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)