by Andrew Walden
The newly-elected 21st Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) opened its inaugural session today, May 11, 2019 (Micronesia is on the other side of the Int'l Dateline). Among the first items of business, election of a new FSM President and Vice President.
Under the FSM Constitution, the 14 members (ten district Senators with two-year terms and four at-large Senators with four-year terms) of the unicameral FSM Congress elect a President and Vice President from among the four at-large members of the FSM Congress. The two newly vacated at-large seats are then set for special elections.
The FSM Congress elected Pohnpei Senator David W. Panuelo President and Kosrae Senator Yosiwo P. George as Vice President.
This will set up special elections for the four-year Senate seats in Pohnpei and Kosrae. Notably, outgoing President Christian would be eligible to run for the Pohnpei seat.
Christian’s son in law, Massey Halbert, is in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center awaiting sentencing on US federal bribery charges in the Lyon Associates case.
Under the FSM Constitution, a sitting President must first win election to one of the four-year Senate seats to be considered for a second term. In elections held March 5, 2019, Christian was defeated by Panuelo 6,773 to 6,716 thus rendering Christian a lame duck.
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FSM PIO: His Excellency David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia
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Congress to Convene New 21st Body
News Release from FSM Congress PIO, May 9, 2019
PALIKIR, POHNPEI – May 9,2019. The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia will convene on Saturday, May 11, 2019, in Palikir to seat the recently elected 2-year and 4 year At-Large representatives of the states to the Nation’s 21st congressional body. In addition to the reorganization of the 21st Congress on Saturday, the appointments of the President and Vice President positions will be determined.
The Congress is a unicameral Body comprised of fourteen members elected to represent each of the four states. Four members are elected as At-Large representatives of each state to serve a 4-yr term while the remaining ten (10) members are apportioned by state population and elected to serve a 2-yr term.
According to the recent elections in March 2019, the following elected two-year Senators will be seated to represent their states in the 21st Congress. Representing the municipalities and regions in the State of Chuuk are:
- Florencio Singkoro Harper, to represent Congressional Election District (ED)-One, comprised of the Mortlocks Islands;
- Victor Gouland, for Congressional ED-Two, comprised of Weno and Northern Namoneas;
- Derensio S. Konman, to represent Congressional ED-Three made up of the Tonoas, Uman, Fefan, Parem and Tsis of;
- Tiwiter Aritos, for Congressional ED-Four or also known as the Faichuuk Region; and
- Robson Romolow, as representative of Congressional ED-Five also known as the Halls and Western Islands, and Namonuito.
Two year representatives from the State of Pohnpei include:
- Ferny S. Perman, for Congressional ED-One comprised of Kolonia, Sokehs, Sapwuahfik, Nukuoro and Kapingamarangi;
- Dion G. Neth, for Congressional ED-Two made up of Madolenihmw and Kitti; and
- Esmond B. Moses, for Congressional ED-Three comprised of U, Nett, Mwoakilloa and Pingelap.
Paliknoa K. Welly from the State of Kosrae and Isaac V. Figir of the State of Yap are the two-year representatives of their respective states to the new congressional body.
Also to be seated to the 21st Congress are the At-large or four-year representatives of the states and they include:
- Wesley W. Simina from the State of Chuuk;
- Yosiwo P. George from the State of Kosrae;
- David W. Panuelo from the State of Pohnpei; and
- Joseph J. Urusemal from the State of Yap.
In addition to the seating of members, the opening day of the First Regular Session of the new 21st Congress will also select the presiding officers of the new bodies - Speaker, Vice Speaker, Floor Leader and the Chairman and members of the seven congressional committees:
- Committee on External Affairs;
- Committee on Health;
- Committee on Education and Social Affairs;
- Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations;
- Committee on Resources and Development;
- Committee on Transportation and Communications; and
- Committee on Ways and Means.
The general public is invited to witness the Opening Session of the new 21st Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia in Palikir at 10am on Saturday - May 11, 2019. Through the services of the FSM Telecommunications Corporation and the assistances of the Pohnpei Public Broadcasting Corporation, the event will be streamed live from Palikir through the state radios.
As usual, the interested general public, especially FSM citizens, are invited to witness the proceedings of the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia.