Government of Micronesia: Branches, Military and International Issues

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Micronesia is a federal republic in free association with the US. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Names of the Country: Official Name: Federated States of Micronesia; conventional short form: none; local long form: Federated States of Micronesia; former: New Philippines; Caroline Islands; Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Ponape, Truk, and Yap Districts. Abbreviation: FSM. The term "Micronesia" is a 19th-century construct of two Greek words, "micro" (small) and "nesoi" (islands), and refers to thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Capital: Palikir: Geographic Coordinates: 6 55 N, 158 09 E. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Administrative Divisions: 4 states; Chuuk (Truk), Kosrae (Kosaie), Pohnpei (Ponape), Yap. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Independence: 3 November 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship). National Holiday: Constitution Day, 10 May (1979). [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Political Parties: no formal parties.

Voting Age: 18 years of age; universal. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

National Symbols of Micronesia

Flag: light blue with four white five-pointed stars centered; the stars are arranged in a diamond pattern; blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, the stars represent the four island groups of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

National Symbols: four, five-pointed, white stars on a light blue field, hibiscus flower; national colors: light blue, white

National Anthem: name: "Patriots of Micronesia", lyrics/music: unknown/August Daniel BINZER. note: adopted 1991; also known as "Across All Micronesia"; the music is based on the 1820 German patriotic song "Ich hab mich ergeben", which was the West German national anthem from 1949-1950; variants of this tune are used in Johannes BRAHMS' "Festival Overture" and Gustav MAHLER's "Third Symphony"

Constitution and Legal System

Constitution: drafted June 1975, ratified 1 October 1978, entered into force 10 May 1979. Amendments: proposed by Congress, by a constitutional convention, or by public petition; passage requires approval by at least three-fourths majority vote in at least three fourths of the states; amended 1990; note – at least every 10 years as part of a general or special election, voters are asked whether to hold a constitution convention; a majority of affirmative votes is required to proceed; amended many times, last in 2019 (approval by referendum to hold a constitutional convention). [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Legal System: mixed legal system of common and customary law. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

International Law Organization Participation: has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Citizenship: Citizenship by Birth: no; Citizenship by Descent Only: at least one parent must be a citizen of FSM; Dual Citizenship Recognized: no; Residency Requirement for Naturalization: 5 years. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Executive Branch of Micronesia

Chief of State: President Wesley W. SIMINA (since 12 May 2023); Vice President Aren B. PALIK (since 12 May 2023); note: the president is both chief of state and head of government

Head of Government: President Wesley W. SIMINA (since 12 May 2023); Vice President Aren B. PALIK (since 12 May 2023). [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Cabinet: Cabinet includes the vice president and the heads of the 8 executive departments. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Executive Branch Elections and Appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by Congress from among the 4 'at large' senators for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 12 May 2023 (next to be held in 2027)

Results of the Last Legislative Election: David W. PANUELO elected president by Congress; Yosiwo P. GEORGE reelected vice president. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Legislative Branch of Micronesia

Micronesia has a unicameral Congress (14 seats; 10 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 2-year terms and 4 at- large members directly elected from each of the 4 states by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

The last legislative election was held on 7 March 2023 (next to be held on March 2025)

Results of the Last Legislative Election: percent of vote: NA; seats: independent 14; composition as of July 2022: men 13, women 1, percent of women 7.1 percent

Judicial Branch of Micronesia

Highest Court: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and not more than 5 associate justices and organized into appellate and criminal divisions)

Judge Selection and Term of Office for the Highest Court: justices appointed by the FSM president with the approval of two-thirds of Congress; justices appointed for life. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Subordinate Courts: the highest state-level courts are: Chuuk Supreme Court; Korsae State Court; Pohnpei State Court; Yap State Court

Government Spending, Taxes and Revenues

Government Budget: revenues: $320 million (2018 estimate)
expenditures: $223 million (2018 estimate)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 6.6 percent (of GDP) (FY12/13 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 4. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Public Debt: 25.4 percent of GDP (2020 estimate)
23.1 percent of GDP (2019 estimate)
23.11 percent of GDP (2018 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 178. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Taxes: 6.43 percent (of GDP) (2020 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 216. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Micronesian Military and International Relations

Military and Security Forces: no military forces; Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Federated States of Micronesia National Police (includes a maritime wing); the Department of Justice oversees the National Police; State police forces are responsible for law enforcement in their respective states and are under the jurisdiction of each state’s director of public safety (2023)

Micronesia has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Micronesia's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2022)

Eligible Micronesians can live, work, and study in any part of the U.S. and its territories without a visa: this privilege reduces stresses on the island economy and the environment. Micronesians serve in the U.S. armed forces and military recruiting from the FSM, per capita, is higher than many US states. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

International Organization That It Participates In: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO, WMO

Image Sources:

Text Sources: CIA World Factbook, 2023; “Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Volume 2: Oceania,” edited by Terence E. Hays, 1991, Wikipedia, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated August 2023

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