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Federated States of Micronesia, Government

From 1947 until 1979, the islands that now make up the FSM were part of the United States-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. That year, the districts of Kosrae, Ponape (now Pohnpei), Truk (now Chuuk), and Yap approved a constitution, establishing the Federated States of Micronesia. The districts are distributed according to population and there are five in Chuuk, three in Pohnpei, and one each in Yap and Kosrae. The country has a unicameral legislature consisting of 14 members. One senator from each state is elected to a four-year term and one senator from each of the countryís ten districts is elected to a two-year term. Voters must be age 18 or older. The president and vice president are chosen by the legislature from among the four state senators. Special state elections are held to replace the senate seats vacated by the president and vice president.

The four states have considerable autonomy. Each has a unicameral legislature, a governor, and a lieutenant governor. All officials are elected. There are municipal governments at the village level. Some village leaders are elected while others are traditional chiefs.

The nationís supreme court is headed by a chief justice and as many as five associate justices. All are appointed by the president with the consent of the legislature. The states and some municipalities have courts at the local level.

The Compact of Free Association, implemented in 1986, defines the political arrangement between the United States and the FSM. While the FSM is self-governing, the United States has the responsibility for defense. It may establish military bases and deny other nations access to Micronesia. In return, the FSM receives financial support and its citizens have the right of free entry to reside and work in the United States.

 
 

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