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US Virgin Islands Government


Politics of the US Virgin Islands takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic dependency, whereby the Governor is the head of the local government, and of a multi-party system. The US Virgin Islands is an unincorporated and organised territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms.

Executive power is exercised by the government. The US Virgin Islands' territorial legislature is the 15-member Legislature of the US Virgin Islands. The body is unicameral and comprises seven Senators from the district of St. Croix, seven Senators from the district of St. Thomas and St. John, and one Senator at-large (who must be a resident of St. John) are elected for a two-year term to the territorial legislature.

The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The US Virgin Islands has a District Court, a Supreme Court and a Superior Court. Judges on the District Court are appointed by the President and Judges on the Supreme Court and Superior Court are appointed by the Governor.

US Virgin Islands residents are US citizens but can't vote in US presidential election and cannot elect voting members of Congress. However, in the US House of Representatives, they are represented by a delegate, who can vote in congressional committees but not in the House itself. US Virgin Islands residents can vote fully in all elections if they become resident in one of the 50 US states.


Country name : conventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies
abbreviation: USVI
Dependency status : organised, unincorporated territory of the US with policy relations between the Virgin Islands and the US under the jurisdiction of the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior
Government type : NA

: name: Charlotte Amalie
geographic coordinates: 18 21 N, 64 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions : none (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are three islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
Independence : none (territory of the US)
National holiday : Transfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 31 March (1917)
Constitution : Revised Organic Act of 22 July 1954
Legal system
: based on US laws
Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch
: chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)
head of government: Governor John DeJONGH (since 1 January 2007)
cabinet: NA
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Virgin Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in the Democratic and Republican presidential primary elections; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 and 21 November 2006 (next to be held in November 2010)
election results: John DeJONGH elected governor; percent of vote - John DeJONGH 57.3%, Kenneth MAPP 42.7%
Legislative branch

: unicameral Senate (15 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 10, ICM 2, independent 3
note: the Virgin Islands elects one non-voting representative to the US House of Representatives; election last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held on 2 November 2010)
Judicial branch : US District Court of the Virgin Islands (under Third Circuit jurisdiction); Superior Court of the Virgin Islands (judges appointed by the governor for 10-year terms)
Political parties and leaders

: Democratic Party [Arturo WATLINGTON]; Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS]; Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
: NA
International organisation participation
Diplomatic representation in the US
: none (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the US
: none (territory of the US)
Flag description : white field with a modified US coat of arms in the centre between the large blue initials V and I; the coat of arms shows a yellow eagle holding an olive branch in its right talon and three arrows in the left with a superimposed shield of seven red and six white vertical stripes below a blue panel




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