THE COMMONWEALTH FAMILY
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries that support each other and work together towards shared goals in democracy and development.
The Commonwealth is an attractive ‘club’ offering cooperation and the cultural and economic prestige of the Anglophone world (without the often aggressive economic and political interventionism of the USA).
The Commonwealth comprises:
- Nearly a third of the World’s population
- Peoples of different religions, races and nationalities
- A Commonwealth Secretariat in London which coordinates policy for the Commonwealth
Societies, institutes, professional associations and university exchange programmes.
The Commonwealth does not have:
- Written laws
- An elected Parliament
- An overall political ruler
• In the United Kingdom, as in many other Commonwealth countries, Commonwealth citizens (together with Irish citizens and British protected persons) are in law considered not to be "foreign" or "aliens", although “British protected persons” do not have all the civic rights that are enjoyed by Commonwealth and Irish citizens.
• Commonwealth and Irish citizens enjoy the same civic rights as British citizens, namely: the right, unless otherwise disqualified, to vote in all elections (i.E., parliamentary, local and European elections); to stand for election, and to hold public office.