Sint Maarten: Government#

Country nameDutch long form: Land Sint Maarten
Dutch short form: Sint Maarten
English long form: Country of Sint Maarten
English short form: Sint Maarten
former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day
Dependency statusconstituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type
CapitalPhilipsburg Philipsburg
geographic coordinates: 18 1 N, 63 2 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisionsnone (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
note: Sint Maarten is one of four constituent parts (countries) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three parts are the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curacao
Independencenone (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holidayKing's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967)
ConstitutionStaatsregeling, 10 October 2010; revised Kingdom Charter pending previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 21 July 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Sint Maarten but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Sint Maarten became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Legal systembased on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
Citizenshipsee the Netherlands
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Eugene HOLIDAY (since 10 October 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister William MARLIN (since 19 November 2015)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the governor-general
elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the legislature
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Estates of Sint Maarten or Staten (15 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held 26 September 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - UPP 28.5%, National Alliance 26.1%, US Party 19.3%, Democratic Party 12.5%; seats by party - National Alliance 5, UPP 5, US Party 3, Democratic Party 2
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus, and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, other members, and their substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands; note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life
subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance
Political parties and leadersConcordia Political Alliance or CPA (Jeffery RICHARDSON)
Democratic Party or DP (Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS)
National Alliance or NA (William MARLIN)
United People's Party or UPP (Theodore HEYLIGER)
United Sint Maarten Party or US Party (Frans RICHARDSON)
Diplomatic representation in the USnone (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation from the USthe US does not have an embassy in Sint Maarten; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Sint Maarten
Flag descriptiontwo equal horizontal bands of red (top) and blue with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the center of the triangle displays the Sint Maarten coat of arms; the arms consist of an orange-bordered blue shield prominently displaying the white court house in Philipsburg, as well as a bouquet of yellow sage (the national flower) in the upper left, and the silhouette of a Dutch-French friendship monument in the upper right; the shield is surmounted by a yellow rising sun in front of which is a brown pelican in flight; a yellow scroll below the shield bears the motto: SEMPER PROGREDIENS (Always Progressing); the three main colors are identical to those on the Dutch flag
note: the flag somewhat resembles that of the Philippines, but with the main red and blue bands reversed; the banner more closely evokes the wartime Philippine flag
National symbol(s)brown pelican, yellow sage (flower); national colors: red, white, blue
National anthemname: "O Sweet Saint Martin's Land"
lyrics/music: Gerard KEMPS

note: the song, written in 1958, is used as an unofficial anthem for the entire island (both French and Dutch sides); as a collectivity of France, in addition to the local anthem, "La Marseillaise" is official on the French side (see France); as a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in addition to the local anthem, "Het Wilhelmus" is official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)