Antigua & Barbuda

Front benches

The first row of seats in the House of Representatives which, on the Government side, are occupied by the Prime Minister and senior Cabinet Ministers and, on the Opposition side, by the leaders of the Opposition and principal opposition Members.

Free vote

Non-procedural term, meaning a vote during which party discipline is not imposed on individual Members. Compare: party vote.

Synonym: unwhipped vote.

Floor of the House

That part of the Chamber of the House reserved for the Members and the officials of the House.

Fiscal year

The twelve month period, from October 1 to September 30, used by the Government for budgetary and accounting purposes.

First reading

A purely formal stage in the passage of a bill, taken together with the order for printing. The motion for first reading and printing is deemed carried without question put.

Compare: introduction of a bill

First-past-the-post system

An electoral system in which the candidate receiving more votes than any other candidate is declared elected, whether or not the winner has received an absolute majority of the votes. The first-past-the-post system is used to elect Members to the House of Representatives.

Synonym: single member plurality system.


An obstructive tactic consisting of the use of excessively long speeches to delay the business of the House or of a committee.