Fourteen Constitutional amendments proposed
PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): January 11, 2002 - After a grueling month and half of hard work, the Third Constitutional Convention, on December 26 2001, adjourned with 14 proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia.
The Convention had originally introduced 58 proposed changes to the Constitution and after 41 days of intense deliberations, adopted 14 of the proposals. The Convention then adopted a resolution selecting May 07, 2002 as the referendum date for the proposals to be voted on by the nation.
Noteworthy among the proposed amendments are the changes suggested for the National Leadership:
The direct election of the President and the Vice President which will have them run on the same ticket, and;
Changing the make up of Congress to eliminate two-year term by having everyone serve a four-year term; the same proposal limits Congress term of service to three four-year terms or not to exceed 12 consecutive years; the proposal in addition recommends two at-large members from each state.
Other proposals include:
The requirement that a minimum of four justices to serve on the bench of the FSM Supreme Court, and that at least one justice reside in each of the four states. The proposal also authorizes the Chief Justice to appoint a justice pro temp, if a vacancy is not filled within one year;
To allow FSM citizens to hold dual citizenship;
To prohibit the National Courts of any jurisdiction in cases where ownership of land and water are at issue, regardless of the diversity of citizenship;
To provide that full faith and credit be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state, this will ensure full faith and credit among the States;
To create an office of an Independent Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any person or agency at the National, State and local level that receives, spends or administers public funds from the National Government;
To provide for a continual annuity or compensation for former presidents and vice presidents;
To require the National Government to establish certain standards for primary and secondary schools and to establish a fund to help the schools meet those standards;
Giving the National Government and State Governments the concurrent power to levy value-added taxes, appropriate public funds, borrow money on the public credit and establish systems of social security and public welfare;
To alter the distribution of tax revenue between the National Government and the States to increase the states share of revenue from 50% to 80%;
To amend the section on foreign financial assistance so that the National Government and the states receive their shares of foreign financial assistance as provided through an agreement between the two;
To provide that not less than 3/4 vote (11) of all members of Congress is required to override a Presidential veto; and should the proposed increase of Congress members be adopted, the number to override a Presidential veto would be 14;
To provide for the number of votes required in the Congress to pass a bill on First and Second Readings; on First Reading majority vote 8 of all members, while Final Reading will be 2/3 or 10 vote of all members is required. Should the proposed increase of Congress members be adopted, the number for First reading would then be at 9 and the Second Reading would be 12;
If passed, the 14 proposals will be the second set of proposed changes made to the young Constitution after its establishment in 1979. The Constitution provides the foundation of FSM s growth and development on the platform of sovereignty as a self-governing nation.
A new nation, which the framers of its Constitution ensured a built-in mechanism that would allow room for change every ten years.
In 1990, the Second Constitutional Convention was held in Palikir with several proposed amendments that were not adopted by the people. Ten years later, November 12, 2001, the Third Constitutional Convention of the Federated States of Micronesia was again held in Palikir, with 14 new proposals to be voted on by the people.
For further information on this release, please contact:
FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356