Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation

Quick Facts - EOM Electoral Observation Mission in Saint Kitts and Nevis - Jan 25, 2010

On January 25, 2010 the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis held Federal Elections. At stake were 11 seats in parliament, eight on the island of St. Kitts and three on Nevis.

All Kittitian and Nevisian citizens over the age of eighteen are entitled to vote, as are Commonwealth citizens who have resided in St. Kitts and Nevis for a period of at least twelve months immediately before the date of their registration on the Voters’ List.

In 1967, St. Kitts and Nevis, together with Anguilla, became a self-governing state in association with Great Britain. Anguilla seceded later that year and remains a British dependency. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis attained full independence on 19 September 1983.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis operates a parliamentary system of government on the Westminster model.

The Queen of Great Britain is the nominal Head of State; her representative in St. Kitts and Nevis is the Governor-General, who technically appoints the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, other ministers of the government, the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, and members of the Public Service Commission and Police Service Commission.

The legislature is unicameral, with a parliament known as the National Assembly, which is composed of eleven elected representatives, and three appointed members, or senators. (Two of the senators are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The other is named on the advice of the leader of the opposition.)

Both representatives and senators serve five-year terms.

There are four major political parties in St. Kitts and Nevis that currently contest elections and two further parties that did not field candidates in 2010. Two parties, the SKNLP and the PAM, compete for seats in St. Kitts. Two separate parties, the CCM and the NRP, compete for seats in Nevis. Although obliged to work together in the National Assembly, the Kittitian and Nevisian parties maintain separate spheres and agendas and parties from one island do not campaign on the other.

St. Kitts and Nevis are islands in the Caribbean Sea, between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago. The total land area of the islands is 261 square kilometers (St. Kitts 168 square kilometers and Nevis 93 square kilometers). 

The population of the islands is approximately 45,000 persons. 

The economy of the islands is dependent on tourism, which since the 1970s has replaced sugar as the chief source of income. The islands have sought to diversify their agricultural sector and to pursue economic growth through attracting cruise ships, offshore banking, and small manufacturing enterprises, but the economy is burdened with a high level of public debt and, like other islands in the region, St. Kitts and Nevis are vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly hurricanes, and shifts in tourism demand.