Historically, Aruba had 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 then consisted of three constituents: Holland, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles (the remaining 5 islands).
However the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010. After dissolution, the "BES islands" of the Dutch Caribbean — Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba — became the Caribbean Netherlands, special municipalities of the Netherlands - a structure that only exists in the Caribbean. Meanwhile Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba, which had separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.
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 his 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 for a four-year term by proportional representation. Each member holds their seats until Parliament is dissolved which is every four years by a general election.
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.
Legal jurisdiction lies with the Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg (Court of First Instance) on Aruba, the Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie van Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, en van Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) and the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Supreme Court of Justice of 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.