Barbados has had uninterrupted parliamentary government since 1639 and has been a sovereign independent state within the Commonwealth since 1966. The first elections based on universal adult suffrage took place in 1951. system but have adapted to suit local circumstances. Since 1955, Barbados has had two major political parties - the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party. Until 2003, each party had served two terms in office alternately. The DLP administration was returned to power on January 15, 2008.
The country's judicial, political and administrative institutions are patterned on the British . Both parties are fundamentally committed to democracy, the rule of law and a free-market economy as the basis of political stability, social and economic prosperity. Barbados enjoys an enviable international reputation in each of these areas, as well as with respect to administrative competence, economic efficiency and the observance of human rights and democratic freedoms