The Falkland Islands are an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, executive authority being vested in Her Majesty the Queen and exercised by the Governor on her behalf.
The current Falkland Islands Constitution came into force in 1985. Under the terms of that Constitution eight Legislative Councillors, five from Stanley and three from Camp, are elected every four years. Each year the Legislative Councillors elect three of their number to stand as members of the Executive Council (ExCo). The Governor is advised by the Executive Council, over which he presides, which is composed of the three elected members and two ex-officio members, the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary. In addition, the Commander British Forces Falkland Islands and the Attorney General may attend ExCo meetings, and may speak on any matter. ExCo meetings are held monthly.
The Legislative Council (LegCo), which is chaired by the Governor, who also acts as Speaker, comprises the eight elected Councillors and two ex-officio members, the Chief Executive and Financial Secretary. As with ExCo, the Commander British Forces and the Attorney General may attend. The Legislative Council is empowered to pass laws for the maintenance of Law, Order, Legislation and the Government of the Islands, subject to the approval of Her Majesty the Queen, acting through her Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. LegCo meetings, which are held in public, are called as required, but normally at least four times a year.
Defence and foreign affairs remain the responsibility of the British Government.
Since the Argentine invasion the Islands have been defended by a land, sea and air garrison maintained at the minimum size required to ensure their security and prevent a repetition of the events of 1982. The completion of the airport at Mount Pleasant (some 35 miles outside Stanley), which became fully operational in 1986, has permitted some reduction in the number of forces stationed on the Islands. Relations between the civilian and military populations are good.