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Virgin Islands Government Profile 2017

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Country nameconventional long form: United States Virgin Islands
conventional short form: Virgin Islands
former: Danish West Indies
abbreviation: USVI
etymology: the myriad islets, cays, and rocks surrounding the major islands reminded Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin followers (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes), which over time shortened to the Virgins (las Virgenes)
Dependency statusorganized, 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 typepresidential democracy; a self-governing territory of the US
Capitalname: Charlotte Amalie
geographic coordinates: 18 21 N, 64 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisionsnone (territory of the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 islands at the second order; Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas
Independencenone (territory of the US)
National holidayTransfer Day (from Denmark to the US), 31 March (1917)
Constitution22 July 1954 - the Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands functions as a constitution for this territory of the US; revised 1962, 2000 (2016)
Legal systemUS common law
Citizenshipsee United States
Suffrage18 years of age; universal; note - island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branchchief of state: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)
head of government: Governor Kenneth MAPP (since 5 January 2015), Lieutenant Governor Osbert POTTER (since 5 January 2015)
cabinet: Territorial Cabinet appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by an Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); under the US Constitution, residents of 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 directly elected on the same ballot by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held in November 2018)
election results: Kenneth MAPP elected governor; percent of vote in runoff - Kenneth MAPP (independent) 63.9%, Donna CHRISTIAN-CHRISTIANSEN (Democratic Party) 36.1%
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Senate (15 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 2-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held on 8 November 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
note: the Virgin Islands directly elects 1 member by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term as a delegate to the US House of Representatives; the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegate last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held on 8 November 2016)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); note - court established by US Congress in 2004 and assumed appellate jurisdiction in 2007
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Virgin Islands Senate; justices initially serve renewable 10-year terms; chief justice elected to position by peers for a 3-year term
subordinate courts: Superior Court (Territorial Court renamed in 2004); US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands; it is a territorial court and is not associated with a US federal judicial district); District Court of the Virgin Islands
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Party [Arturo WATLINGTON]
Independent Citizens' Movement or ICM [Usie RICHARDS]
Republican Party [Gary SPRAUVE]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationAOSIS (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs)
Diplomatic representation in the USnone (territory of the US)
Diplomatic representation from the USnone (territory of the US)
Flag descriptionwhite field with a modified US coat of arms in the center 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; white is a symbol of purity, the letters stand for the Virgin Islands
National anthemname: "Virgin Islands March"
lyrics/music: multiple/Alton Augustus ADAMS, Sr.
note: adopted 1963; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the US, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017