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ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
House of Representatives

Modules:
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name Parliament
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Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
Affiliation to the IPU
Affiliation date(s)
LEADERSHIP
President Gisele Isaac-Arrindell  (F) 
Notes Re-elected on 27 April 2009.
Secretary General Ramona Small  (F) 
COMPOSITION
Members (statutory / current number) 19 / 19
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN


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Women (current number) 2 (10.53%)
Mode of designation directly elected 17
other 2
Notes Other: includes one ex officio member (the Attorney General) and the Speaker
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 12 March 2009
(View details)
CONTACT INFORMATION
Address House of Representatives
Parliament Building
Queen Elizabeth Highway
ST. JOHN'S
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (1 268) 462 4822
Fax (1 268) 462 6724
E-mail parliament@ab.gov.ag
Website
http://www.ab.gov.ag/article_details.php?id=194&category=66

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Electoral law 31 October 1975
Last amendment: Representation of the People (Amendment) Acts of 2001 and 2002.
Mode of designation directly elected 17
other 2
Constituencies 17 single-member constituencies.
Voting system Majority: Simple majority vote.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled through by-elections held within 120 days of the vacancy.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- citizens of Antigua and Barbuda
- citizens of the Commonwealth who have legally resided in the country for at least three years immediately preceding the qualifying date and who have met the relevant residency requirements
- residence in the constituency for at least one month immediately preceding the qualifying date.
CANDIDATES
Eligibility - qualified voters
- age: 21 years
- citizens of Antigua and Barbuda
- residence in the country for a minimum of 12 months immediately preceding the elections
- ability to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical condition, to read the English language with sufficient proficiency
- ineligibility: allegiance to a foreign State, undischarged bankruptcy, insanity, death sentence or imprisonment for more than one year, electoral offences or certain crimes within the preceding 10 years
Incompatibilities - certain public offices
- electoral responsibilities
- minister of religion
Candidacy requirements - nomination by individuals or political parties

LAST ELECTIONS

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 12 March 2009
Timing and scope of renewal Elections were held for all elective seats in the House of Representatives on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
On 9 February 2009, Prime Minister Winston Baldwin Spencer asked Governor General Louise Lake-Tack to dissolve the House of Representatives. On 19 February, the Prime Minister announced that elections would be held on 12 March in the twin islands of 85,000 inhabitants.

In the previous elections held in March 2004, the United Progressive Party (UPP) of Mr. Spencer won 12 of the 17 seats at stake and the Barbuda People's Movement (BPM, an ally of the UPP, took one. Those elections marked the end of the rule of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP). ALP leader, Mr. Lester Bird, and his father, Vere Cornwall Bird, had been at the helm of the government almost without interruption for over forty years.

A total of 42 candidates contested the 2009 elections. At stake were 16 seats in Antigua and one seat in Barbuda. Both the UPP and the ALP endorsed candidates in all 16 constituencies in Antigua. The BPM put forward a candidate in the sole seat in Barbuda, which the ALP also contested. The Organisation for National Development (OND) contested the general elections for the first time, fielding four candidates. Four independent candidates also ran.

The elections once again saw a duel between Prime Minister Spencer's UPP and the ALP, led by former prime minister Lester Bird. The 71-year-old ALP leader vowed to hand over the party leadership if the ALP lost the elections.

In its manifesto the UPP promised to create public companies to promote "economic democracy". The ALP, for its part, pledged to abolish personal income tax (reintroduced by the UPP government). It promised to introduce a major economic stimulus package, as well as secure EC$500 million (US$187.2 million) in annual foreign investment.

The 2009 elections were held against the backdrop of fraud scandals involving two banks owned by a US-born banker, Mr. Allen Stanford. Mr. Stanford, who is also the country's largest private employer, was accused by financial regulators in the United States of misrepresenting the safety and liquidity of uninsured certificates of deposits. The ALP accused the Government of failing to supervise and regulate the banks owned by Mr. Stanford. Finance Minister Errol Cort expressed confidence in the islands' regulatory system.

On 12 March 2009, 80.27 per cent of the 52,000 eligible voters turned out at the polls.

The Organization of American States (OAS) electoral observer mission noted voting delays in six constituencies. The Electoral Commission attributed the delays to a breakdown of the machinery used to print election-related material, including the voters' list. The OAS concluded, however, that the delays had not affected the overall election results. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) added that voting took place "without intimidation or harassment" in "an orderly, free and peaceful manner". A member of the Electoral Commission, Bishop Ewing Dorsette, announced his resignation following what he termed "the debacle of the general election".


The final results gave nine seats to the UPP. Finance Minister Cort (UPP) lost his seat to ALP leader Bird, who subsequently announced that he would become the opposition leader in the new House of Representatives. The ALP increased its strength from four to seven seats. One woman was elected.

On 13 March, Mr. Spencer (UPP) was sworn in for a new term as Prime Minister. His cabinet was sworn in on 16 March, and comprised seven members, down from 11, in an effort to cut costs in the light of the economic turmoil.

On 21 March, the ALP filed petitions at the High Court to overturn the results in four constituencies where it believed that the vote had been rigged. It pointed to an unusually high turnout figure (over 98 per cent) in Prime Minister Spencer's constituency despite a late start to voting.

On 27 April, the newly elected House of Representatives held its first session and re-elected Ms. Gisele Isaac-Arrindell as its Speaker. The Senate, whose members are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, was also renewed. Five women were appointed to the Senate, led by Senate President, Ms. Hazlyn Mason Francis.

On 31 March 2010, the High Court ruled that the election of three of the four parliamentarians - including Prime Minister Spencer - was invalid. The UPP promptly sought and received a stay of the judgment to the High Court. The three members continue to serve in the House of Representatives until the UPP's case is heard and determined in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Round no 112 March 2009
Number of registered electors
Voters
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
52'183
41'885 (80.27%)
201
41'684
Notes
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
United Progressive Party (UPP) 21'239 50.95
Antigua Labour Party (ALP) 19'657 47.16
Barbuda People's Movement (BPM) 474 1.14
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
United Progressive Party (UPP) 9
Antigua Labour Party (ALP) 7
Barbuda People's Movement (BPM) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men

Women

Percent of women
17

2

10.53%
Distribution of seats according to age
31 to 40 years

41 to 50 years

51 to 60 years

61 to 70 years

Over 70 years

3

4

4

5

1

Distribution of seats according to profession
Political party official

Legal profession

Entrepreneur

Finance, management or business

Other

Journalism, broadcasting, media

Economist

Trade union official

6

3

2

2

1

1

1

1

Comments
Note:
The two women include: one woman out of 17 members directly elected, and an appointed member (the Speaker of the House). The number of men includes one appointed member (Attorney General).
Sources:
- Parliament (17.04.2009, 30.04.2009, 14.05.2010, 30.11.2012)
- http://www.antiguaelections.com

PRESIDENCY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name House of Representatives
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Senate
APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE
Title Speaker of the House of Representatives
Term - duration: 5 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: death, loss of citizenship, appointment as Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, loss of parliamentary mandate
Appointment - elected by all the Members of the House
- election is held after a general election or when a vacancy occurs
- after Members are sworn in
Eligibility - any Member of the House (except a Minister or a Parliamentary Secretary) or any person not Member of the House but qualified to be elected as its Speaker may be a candidate
- candidatures have to be submitted at the first meeting of the newly elected House

Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot if there is more than one candidate
- a simple majority?? of the votes cast is required
- if no candidate obtains the required majority, several rounds are held and no new candidates are admitted
Procedures / results - the Clerk presides over the House during the voting
- the Clerk supervises the voting
- the Clerk announces the results without any delay
- the results cannot be challenged
STATUS
Status - ranks seventh in the hierarchy of State
- the President of the Senate has precedence over the Speaker of the House of Representatives
- the President of the Senate presides over joint sittings of both Houses
- represents the House with the public authorities
- represents the House in international bodies
- in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker can assume his/her role and functions
Board
Material facilities - salary of $ 5,000 EC??
- travel allowance of $ 531
- entertainment?? allowance of $ 400
FUNCTIONS
Organization of parliamentary business - The Government organizes debates and the speaking time is set by the Standing Orders
Chairing of public sittings - may suspend sittings for short periods
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the House
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- can call for a vote
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the adopted texts and the records of debates
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Assembly
Special powers - is consulted for the appointment of the Clerk
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the House
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes part in voting if elected to the House by a constituency

This page was last updated on 3 December 2012
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