Government of Nauru: Branches, Military and International Issues

Home | Category: Government, Infrastructure, Economics


Nauru is a parliamentary republic. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Names of the Country: Official Name: Republic of Nauru; conventional short form: Nauru; local long form: Republic of Nauru; local short form: Nauru; Former name: Pleasant Island. The island name may derive from the Nauruan word "anaoero" meaning "I go to the beach". [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Capital: no official capital; government offices in the Yaren District. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Administrative Divisions: 14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baitsi, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Independence: 31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship). National Holiday: Independence Day, 31 January (1968). [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Voting Age: 20 years of age; universal and compulsory. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Nauru does not have formal political parties; alliances within the government are often formed based on extended family ties. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

National Symbols of Nauru

Flag: blue with a narrow, horizontal, gold stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; blue stands for the Pacific Ocean, the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the gold stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru; the star's white color represents phosphate, the basis of the island's wealth. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

National Symbols: frigatebird, calophyllum flower; national colors: blue, yellow, white

National Anthem: name: "Nauru Bwiema" (Song of Nauru), lyrics/music: Margaret HENDRIE/Laurence Henry HICKS. It was adopted in 1968

Constitution and Legal System of Nauru

Constitution: effective 29 January 1968. Amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires two-thirds majority vote of Parliament; amendments to constitutional articles, such as the republican form of government, protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, the structure and authorities of the executive and the legislative branches, also require two-thirds majority of votes in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2018. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Legal System: mixed legal system of common law based on the English model and customary law. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

International Law Organization Participation: has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Executive Branch of Nauru

Chief of State: President Russ KUN (since 28 September 2022); note: the president is both chief of state and head of government

Head of Government: President Russ KUN (since 28 September 2022). [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among members of Parliament. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Executive Branch Elections and Appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 September 2022 (next to be held in 2025)

Results of the Last Legislative Election: Russ KUN elected president unopposed. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Legislative Branch of Nauru

Nauru has a unicameral Parliament (19 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by majority vote using the "Dowdall" counting system by which voters rank candidates on their ballots; members serve 3-year terms)

The last legislative election was held on 24 September 2022 (next to be held in September 2025)

Results of the Last Legislative Election: percent of vote: NA; seats: independent 19; composition: men 17, women 2, percent of women 10.5 percent

Judicial Branch of Nauru

Highest Court: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several justices); In late 2017, the Nauruan Government revoked the 1976 High Court Appeals Act, which had allowed appeals beyond the Nauruan Supreme Court, and in early 2018, the government formed its own appeals court

Judge Selection and Term of Office for the Highest Court: judges appointed by the president to serve until age 65. [Source: CIA World Factbook 2023]

Subordinate Courts: District Court, Family Court

Government Spending, Taxes and Revenues

Government Budget: revenues: $195 million (2020 estimate)
expenditures: $158 million (2020 estimate)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -9.2 percent (of GDP) (2017 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 206. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Public Debt: 62 percent of GDP (2017 estimate)
65 percent of GDP (2016 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 79. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Taxes: 48.24 percent (of GDP) (2020 estimate); ranking compared to other countries in the world: 6. [Source: CIA World Factbook, 2023]

Military and International Relations of Nauru

Military and Security Forces: no regular military forces; the police force, under the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, maintains internal security and, as necessary, external security (2023). Nauru maintains no defense forces; under an informal agreement, defense is the responsibility of Australia

Nauru 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 Nauru'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 (2023)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: stateless persons: 140 (2022)

International Organization That It Participates In: ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICCt, IFAD, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

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

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from, please contact me.