PALIKIR, POHNPEI - August 23, 2019. The Second Special Session of the 21st Congress had transmitted Congressional Act (CA) 21-35 for the President’s signature, to call for the selection of delegates and establishment of needed procedures for the Nation to hold the Fourth Constitutional Convention of the Federated States of Micronesia.
On August 7, 2019, the President signed Public law 21-19 to launch the process and criteria for the selection of delegates of the Constitutional Convention along with the expected procedures and duties of the Convention:
1. Delegates: There is to be one Delegation per state that is comprised of one delegate for the at-large seat and two delegates per election district, which translates to:
a. Chuuk State – 11 delegates;
b. Pohnpei State – 7 delegates;
c. Yap State – 3 delegates; and
d. Kosrae State – 3 delegates.
2. Eligibility: Unless excluded by law, persons eligible for election to the Convention should be:
a. an FSM citizen 25 years or older;
b. have fulfilled the residency requirements for a registered voter in the state and
the representative district; and
c. not under judgement of mental incompetency or insanity, not under
parole, probation or any felonious conviction.
3. Dates: The law has laid out the following dates to guide the work and process of the Convention:
a. Tuesday - November 05, 2019: Election Day for Delegates to the 4th FSM
b. Tuesday – December 3, 2019: The Pre-Convention Committee would
assemble to choose its own officers and to organize itself according to
its own rules and procedures, all of which is expected to be completed
within 15 days; and
c. Tuesday – January 7, 2020: The 4th FSM Constitutional Convention
is to convene and continue in session for 30 days and if necessary, may
extend up to 45 days.
4. Duties: The duties of the Convention would be to propose amendments to the Constitution for placement on a ballot for the March 2021 referendum; ensure that the proposed amendments are in the established format for proposed amendments to the Constitution; and, finally the Convention would notify the President of the proposed amendments for the eventual transmittal of the proposals to the Congress for the 2021 referendum.
The FSM Constitution was drafted by the Micronesian Constitutional Convention in 1975 and ratified in 1978 by Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap. On May 10, 1979, the four states collectively became the sovereign self-governing Nation of the Federated States of Micronesia with the FSM Constitution as the supreme law of the land. And contained within is a clause to ensure that at least every 10 years the people of the FSM can amend their Constitution.
The First FSM Constitutional Convention was ratified in 1978 and birthed the FSM nation in 1979. In 1990, the Nation held its Second Constitution Convention which produced four proposed amendments that were ratified and incorporated into the FSM Constitution. The Third Constitution Convention was held in 2001 and yielded 14 proposed amendments which, unfortunately, were not approved in the referendum. Through Public Law 21-19, the Fourth FSM Constitutional Convention is set to convene on January 7, 2020.
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