Politics of the Bahamas

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Bahamas

The politics of the Bahamas takes place within a framework of parliamentary democracy, with a Prime Minister as the head of government. The Bahamas is an independent country and - as a former British colony - a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom. Executive power is exercised by the cabinet. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and jurisprudence is based on English common law. The multi-party system is dominated by the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement. The constitution protects freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.


Political developments

In the first half of the 20th century, the Bahamas was largely controlled by a group of influential white merchants known as the "Bay Street Boys", who dominated both the economy and the legislature. Executive power rested with the British governor-in-council.

The Progressive Liberal Party was formed in 1953 to represent the disenfranchised black majority and this led to the formation of the United Bahamian Party by the Bay Street Boys. In 1964 the British gave the Bahamas internal self-governance and the white UBP leader Roland Symonette became the country's first premier. In 1967, under the leadership of a young black lawyer named Lynden Pindling, the PLP were elected and went on to lead The Bahamas into independence in 1973.

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