Bermuda government has a high degree of internal self-government and is a British Overseas Territory. The queen is the official head of the state, and appoints a Bermuda Governor to represent her. The governor is accountable for the police, internal security, defence, and external affairs. The present Governor of Bermuda is Sir John Vereker, who has held office since April of 2002.
The firs official governor of Bermuda was Richard Moore who arrived in 1612 aboard the “Plough” and represented the Virginia Company. In 1648, Britain assumed control of Bermuda government affairs after the Somers Island Company was dissolved, sending out Governors on a continuing basis as the official representative of the crown. In 1701, the Silver Oar, an emblem of Admiralty authority was brought by Governor Bennett to Bermuda and initiated the practice of placing it before himself during meetings of the Governor’s Council. In 1721, the Silver Oar was bought by the Bermuda Government.
In 1799, the Turk’s Island which have been a long center of Bermuda’s salt trade and where Bermuda, was seized by the Government of the Bahamas that greatly crippled Bermuda’s economy. In 1815, for the first time in Hamilton, the Parliament assembles it meeting in the Town Hall until 1826, thereafter the sessions were moved to the Sessions House on Parliament Hill and has been its location ever since. The year 1944 gave women the right to vote in Bermuda government’s elections.
Bermuda government has a system similar to that of the UK. Two legislative chambers, the House of Assembly and the Senate, compose the system. The House of Assembly in Bermuda government consists of thirty six members elected by qualified voters in general election usually held at least every five years. The political party leader winning the most seats in the House of Assembly is appointed as the Premier, three by the Governor and three by the Leader of the Opposition. Bermuda government requires a legislation to be passed by the House of Assembly and approved by the Senate and Governor in order for this to become a law.
There are eleven members of the senate in Bermuda government, five of whom are appointed by the governor on recommendation of the Premier, three by the Leader of the Opposition, and three by the Governor. Again, legislation by the house of Assembly and approved by the Senate and the governor must be passed in order for this to become law.
There are two foremost political parties in Bermuda, the United Bermuda Party (UBP) and the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), where the Progressive Labour Party won the most recent elections that was held last July 2003. The existing Premier is William Alexander Scott.
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