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Historically, Aruba has been part of the Netherlands Antilles, a six island federation, which also included Bonaire, Curaçao, St.Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius On January 1st, 1986, Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom now consists of three constituents: Holland, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles (5 islands).

Aruba has its own constitution, based on Western democratic principles. The King of the Netherlands appoints the governor of Aruba who holds office for a 6-year term, and acts as her representative.

Legislative, executive and judicial powers are vested in parliament which is housed in Aruba's capital, Oranjestad. The Aruban parliament consists of 21 members elected by universal suffrage.

The party (or parties) obtaining legislative majority are asked by the Governor to form a 7- member Council of Ministers vested with executive powers and headed by a Prime Minister.

Jurisdiction in Aruba lies with a common court of Justice of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles and a Supreme Court of Justice in the Netherlands.

Although Aruba has a separate status, it still retains strong economic, cultural, political and defense ties with Holland and her "sister" islands. In fact, although matters such as aviation, customs, immigration, communications and other internal matters are handled autonomously by the Aruban government; the Kingdom is still responsible for defense, citizenship and foreign affairs.

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