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Politics of Saint Helena

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Title: Politics of Saint Helena  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Legislative Council of Saint Helena, Saint Helena legislative election, 2005, Politics of Saint Helena, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha Island Council
Collection: Politics of Saint Helena
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Politics of Saint Helena

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Politics of Saint Helena takes place in a framework of limited self-government as a dependent territory of the United Kingdom, whereby the Governor is the head of government. Saint Helena, an island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, is a part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

It has had its present constitution since 1 September 2009. Executive power is exercised by the Governor and the Executive Council. Legislative power is vested in both the Governor and the Legislative Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Military defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Saint Helena had until 2009 two dependencies: Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. These territories have their own political structures with Administrators under the Governor of Saint Helena. They are now equal parts of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha along with St Helena itself.


  • Executive Branch 1
  • Legislative Branch 2
    • Political parties and elections 2.1
  • Judicial branch 3
  • International organization participation 4
  • References 5

Executive Branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Monarch Elizabeth II 6 February 1952
Governor and Commander-in-Chief Andrew Gurr 11 November 2007

The Executive Council consists of the Governor, three ex officio officers (one, the Attorney General, having no vote), and five elected members of the Legislative Council. The monarch is the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and is hereditary; the Governor is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the British government. The Chief Secretary is the main advisor to the Governor on the island and runs the administrative side of the government, which is based at The Castle in the capital, Jamestown.

In January 2013 it was proposed that the Executive Council would be led by a "Chief Councillor" who would be elected by the members of the Legislative Council and would nominate the other members of the Executive Council.[1][2] These proposals were put to a referendum on 23 March 2013 where they were defeated by 158 votes to 42 on a 10% turnout. [3]

Legislative Branch

The Legislative Council has 15 members, 12 members elected for a four year term by popular vote and 3 members ex officio. This arrangement gives the governing of Saint Helena an aspect of representative democracy.

Political parties and elections

According to the Saint Helena Herald, at the last elections, June 2005, only non-partisans have been elected. In June 2001 the turnout was 44%. Saint Helena does not have active political parties, but no law forbids the formation of political parties, so the country is a de facto non-partisan democracy. The Saint Helena Labour Party and Saint Helena Progressive Party existed until 1976.
 Summary of the 30 August 2005 Legislative Council of Saint Helena election results
Candidates Seats
Non-partisans 12
Ex officio members 3
Total (turnout %) 15

Judicial branch

The territory has four courts of its own:

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London, is the final court of appeal for the territory however, as is the case with all other British overseas territories.

International organization participation


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