Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Task Force mobilized for special referendum in August

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): March 15, 2002 - President Leo A. Falcam has declared August 27, 2002 as a Special Referendum date for two proposed amendments submitted by the Third Constitutional Convention of the Federated States of Micronesia.

An earlier referendum date of May 7 had been proposed by the Convention, but the Law as amended, authorized the President of the FSM to call a special referendum date for the proposals should they have direct impact on the 2003 General Elections.

The special referendum date will be to vote on the two identified proposals that will affect the upcoming general election in March of 2003: the direct election of the President and the Vice President; and changing Congress composition to all four-year terms thus increasing the composition of Congress members. The remaining proposals will be placed on next year's election ballots.

Following the Referendum Declaration, the national government activated a "Training of Trainers" Task Force from the National Government to work with their State appointed counter parts in a nation-wide community education on the 14 proposed amendments to the FSM Constitution.

The national team had elected Dr. Rufino Mauricio as Chairman and Edgar Santos as Secretary/Treasurer. The following members are assigned to their respective States:

I. Chuuk:

Tony Otto - Vice Chairman
Burnis Danis
Kandhi Eliaser
Jesse Sidney

II. Kosrae:

Wilson Waguk - Vice Chairman
Jane Elymore

III. Pohnpei:

Edigar Isaac - Vice Chairman
Mohner Ehsiel
Dr. Rufino Mauricio (Chairman)
Edgar Isaac (Secretary/Treasurer)

IV. Yap:

Bernard Thoulag - Vice Chairman
Jesse Giltamag

Members of the National Task Force are in their fourth day of session in preparation for April 1, when they will be dispatched to each one's respective State to work with their appointed counterparts.

It will then be the objective of the combined Task Force of national and state members to provide the Community Education needed to understand and cover all aspects of the 14 proposed amendments to the Constitution.

The proposed amendments are:

  1. The direct election of the President and the Vice President which will have them run on the same ticket, and;

  2. 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.

  3. 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;

  4. To allow FSM citizens to hold dual citizenship;

  5. 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;

  6. 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;

  7. 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;

  8. To provide for a continual annuity or compensation for former presidents and vice presidents;

  9. 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;

  10. 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;

  11. 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%;

  12. 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.

  13. 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;

  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 would be the second set of proposed changes made to the FSM Constitution after its establishment in 1979.

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