St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth. The parliament is a unicameral body with a fifteen-member elected house of assembly and a six-member appointed senate. The governor general appoints senators, four on the advice of the prime minister and two on the advice of the leader of the opposition.
Until the 2001 election, politics in St. Vincent had been dominated by the New Democratic Party, led by James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, who won a clean sweep of all 15 seats in 1989 elections. In 1998, Prime Minister Mitchell and the NDP were returned to power for an unprecedented fourth term but with only a slim margin of eight seats to seven seats for the ULP.
In March 2001, the ULP, led by Ralph Gonsalves, assumed power after winning twelve of the fifteen seats in Parliament. The ULP maintained its majority after the 2005 general elections.
Prime Minister Gonsalves dissolved Parliament on 15 November 2010 and set Nomination Day for 26 November 2010. By law elections can be called fifteen days or more after nomination day. This year, Election Day was declared to be Monday 13 December 2010.