Three Constitutional Amendments Set for Ballot in 2011
President Manny Mori has issued a Presidential Order to place three constitutional amendments on the ballot for the regular national election to be held in March 2011. Two of these amendments originate from Public Laws No. 15-60 and 15-61, both passed during the 15th FSM Congress. The third one defines who is eligible to become President, which need clarification due to the amendment change in P.L. No. 15-60.
The first constitutional amendment deals with repealing Section 3 of Article III of the FSM Constitution which deals with citizenship. Public Law No. 15-61, which became effective November 10, 2008, proposes an amendment to do away with a constitutional requirement imposed upon FSM Citizens who are also recognized as citizens of another nation, to register intent to remain as citizens of the FSM. The law looks to repeal this section that says. “A citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, who is recognized as a citizen of another nation shall, within 3 years of his 18th birthday, or within 3 years of the effective date of this Constitution, whichever is later, register his intent to remain a citizen of the Federated States and renounce his citizenship of another nation. If he fails to comply with this Section, he becomes a national of the Federated States of Micronesia.” If this amendment is passed, this section will be repealed and allow for citizens of the FSM to hold dual citizenship.
The second constitutional amendment relates to Public Law No. 15-60, which became law on October 22, 2008, and proposes amending the FSM Constitution to mandate a uniform 4-year term for all members of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia. This amendment to Section 8, article IX, would read as follows: “The Congress consists of one member elected at large from each state on the basis of state equality, and additional members elected from congressional districts in each state apportioned by population. Members serve for a four (4) year term. Each member has one vote, except on the final reading bills. Congressional elections are held as provided by statute.” This amendment will change the current 2-year term for members elected from congressional districts in each state apportioned by population into 4-year terms for all members of Congress.
Because this second amendment would change all members of Congress to 4-year term members, another amendment becomes necessary to change the wording in the FSM Constitution to accurately define who is eligible from the Congress to become President of the FSM. The current wording says “a member of Congress for a 4-year term” is eligible. The proposed amendment to Section 4, Article X of the Constitution reads, “Section 4. A person is ineligible to become President unless he is a member of Congress elected at-large from a state on the basis of state equality, a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia by birth, and a resident of the Federated States of Micronesia for at least 15 years.” The passing of this amendment simply re-clarifies that at-large, 4-year member of Congress are eligible to become President of the FSM.