What Type Of Government Does Aruba Have?

Sign outside of the parliament buildings in Aruba. Editorial credit: Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com.
Sign outside of the parliament buildings in Aruba. Editorial credit: Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com.

Aruba was formerly under control of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and a part of the Netherlands Antilles. In 1986, Aruba formally separated from the Netherland Antilles and became an autonomous member, known as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1990, the government of Aruba initiated and ceased a movement toward full independence.

As a constituent country, Aruba has an independent Constitution and operates under the political framework of a representative parliamentary democracy and separated into 3 branches: executive, legislative, and judiciary. It consists of the Governor, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, Parliament, and judiciary. This article takes a closer look at the various components of the government of Aruba.

Executive Branch Of The Government Of Aruba

The monarch of the Kingdom of the Netherlands appoints the Governor of Aruba to represent the interests of the Kingdom for a 6-year term. Additionally, the Governor serves as the Head of Government of Aruba. The person in this position does not form part of the Cabinet of Ministers, although he or she does help select its members. The Governor works closely with the 5-member Council of Advice in order to write state decrees, state ordinances, administrative orders, and acts of the Kingdom.

The Prime Minister and the 8-member Council of Ministers also make up part of the executive branch. Both are appointed by the legislative branch or parliamentary body. Since 1986, Aruba has had 3 Prime Ministers: Henny Eman (served from 1986 to 1989 and from 1994 to 2001), Nelson Oduber (served from 1989 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2009), and Mike Eman (currently serving, beginning in 2009).

Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Aruba

The Estates of Aruba is the unicameral parliamentary body of government, which acts with legislative and executive powers. It consists of 21 members, who are elected by the general population based on proportional representation. Each member serves a 4-year term upon election. The members of the Estates also vote on the Prime Minister. Generally speaking, the Prime Minister is the leader of the political party with majority representation in this body. Currently, 13 seats are held by the Aruban People’s Party, 7 by the People’s Electoral Movement, and 1 by the Real Democracy Party.

Judicial Branch Of The Government Of Aruba

The judicial branch of Aruba works to administer the law independently of the executive and legislative branches of government. The highest court of this country is the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. The judges of this court oversee cases of first dispute and of appeal. It has 6 regular locations throughout the former Netherland Antilles. One of these courts is located in the city of Oranjestad in Aruba. Cases of first instance are ruled on by 1 judge, while cases of appeal are ruled on by a panel of 3 judges. Plaintiffs and defendants of this court have the right to appeal as high as the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, located in the Hague. The monarch of the Kingdom of the Netherlands appoints the judges to serve on the Joint Court for life-long terms.


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