Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation

Quick Facts - EOM Electoral Observation Mission in Belize - March 7, 2012

In the upcoming general election, scheduled for March 7, 2012, 74 candidates will compete for 31 seats in the National Assembly.  The Belizean people will also choose mayors and members of nine town councils in municipal elections.

According to the electoral code, every person age 18 and above may vote in elections if s/he is either a citizen of Belize or of the British Commonwealth and resident in the country for at least one year before polling day.

Belize operates with a parliamentary democracy modeled on the Westminster system.  The constitutional head of state is Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who is represented in the country by a Governor-General. A Prime Minister and Cabinet make up the Executive Branch, while a 31-member elected House of Representatives and a 12-member appointed Senate form a bicameral legislature. 


Territorial Division
Belize has six administrative districts: Belize, Cayo, Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Toledo. Each district town has a locally elected Town Council of seven members, as does the capital of Belmopan. The Cayo district has two Town Councils, namely, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo. Belize City is administered by a eleven-member City Council. In total there are nine councils:  Belize City, Belmopan City, Benque Town, Corozal Town,  Orange Walk Town, Dangriga Town, Punta Gorda Town, San Pedro Town and San Ignacio Town.

For general elections, the country is divided into thirty-one electoral divisions or constituencies distributed as follows: 4 each for the districts of Corozal and Orange Walk, 6 for the Cayo District, 2 each for the districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, 10 for the Belize District, and 3 for rural Belize District. Belize City has ten electoral divisions because about one-third of the population resides there and the divisions are determined by the population.

Belize's population is estimated to be approximately 312,698. The country is a melting pot of many races and over the years the multi-racial make-up has risen through the influx of many people from Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. The main ethnic groups are: Mestizo (50%), Creole (21%), Mayas (10), Garifunas (4.6%) and Mennonite.
English is the official language of Belize. However, English Creole is widely spoken and remains a distinctive part of everyday conversations for most Belizeans. Spanish, taught in primary and secondary schools, is a fast-growing language in Belize and the mother tongue of approximately half of the population, including the majority of people living in the areas bordering Guatemala and Mexico.  In the southern districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya.