Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy and is a member of the Commonwealth. Therefore, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II is the titular head of the country. She is represented here by a Governor-General.
The Jamaican Parliament is bicameral. This means that it consists of two Houses, the Senate, also called the Upper House, and the House of Representatives, also known as the Lower House.
The members of the House of Representatives are elected under universal adult suffrage, with a maximum of five years between elections. There are 63 constituencies, each represented by one Member of Parliament.
There are 21 members of the Senate who are appointed by the Governor-General; thirteen are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister; and eight on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition. The Senate functions mainly as a review chamber for legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
The Cabinet is the main instrument of government policy. It consists of the Prime Minister and at least 13 other ministers of Government, whose membership is restricted to one of the two Houses of Parliament. Not more than four members of the Cabinet may be members of the Senate. The Minister of Finance must be an elected member of the House of Representatives.
The maximum life of a Parliament is five years, at the end of which Parliament must be dissolved and a general election held. However, the Prime Minister may advise the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament at any time within the five years and name a date for a general election. Also, Parliament must be dissolved and a general election held, if a majority of all the members of the House of Representatives supports a no-confidence motion against the Government.