Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia

Four Acts Vetoed

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Congress): August 8, 2002 - Congress received four more acts, which were vetoed by President Leo A. Falcam on August 5, 2002.

The subject of the act, Congressional Act No. 12-51, C.B. No. 12-117 CD 1, was the use of a $40,000 provided under the Priority State Infrastructure Project (PSIP) Fund previously appropriated for the renovation and completion of second floor of the Pohnpei State Delegation Office. The act, according to the veto message, changed the original use of the funds to "Pohnpei State Delegation Office operations" while some of the funds have been expended. The message stated in part that part of the $40,000 have been used while only 28,477.62 is left. In approving the act with the original $40,000 still intact, there would, naturally, over-obligation of funds.

The other three acts concerned some proposed amendments to the constitution aiming to take effect soon, especially during the Congressional March elections. Congressional Act No. 12-47 would provide that all members of Congress would serve for four-year terms. The president feels the act is in conflict with Sections 703 and 603 of Title 9 ("National Elections") of the FSM Code. The veto message stated that these section and title of the Code requires a 60-day deadline before elections for requesting absentee ballots. It further stated that the "Code requires a 55-day deadline before election for the National Election Director to forward to the national election commissioners sample ballots. The message also stated, "This Act was transmitted to my office on July 10, 2002, and even with expedited execution, the deadlines of Title 9 have already tolled for the special election set by Presidential Directive for August 27, 2002."

The president used the same reasons used in vetoing Congressional Act No. 12-47 in vetoing the other two acts, which aimed to have both the president and vice president elected from among the at-large 4-year members of Congress, and for the appointment of the independent prosecutor.

"Aside from this legal problems," the message stated for the later three vetoed acts, "there are serious ramifications should this Act be signed into Law. Absentee ballots are already being mailed out, so the special election which is now in progress will be disrupted. With no funds for public education on the proposed constitutional amendments and no time for translating the new ballots, implementation of this Act will be impractical."

The only act that signed into law was Congressional Act No. 12-53, which amended Title 9 of the Code of the FSM to provide for special polling places. The president informed the Congress that this particular act, now Public Law No. 12-49, will not be implemented in time for the special election scheduled for August 27, 2002.

The budget act is still awaiting presidential approval or veto. A new budget will have to take effect October 1, 2002.

Congress expresses its sympathy and condolences to the families, relatives and friends, and to the people and government of the Republic of Palau for the tragic loss of the three athletes who passed away last week while awaiting for their return trip back to Palau from the 5th Micronesian Games.

For further information on this release, please contact:

Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia
Public Information Office
P.O Box PS-3
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2324/2325
Fax.: (691) 320-5122