Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands


Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands

Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic system, whereby the Governor is head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. The Northern Mariana Islands are a commonwealth in political union with the United States. Federal funds to the Commonwealth are administered by the Office of Insular Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Local government is carried out through three regional mayors.

The Northern Mariana Islands and the United States reached a Covenant Agreement effective 4 November 1986. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands became effective 1 January 1978.

Executive branch

Governor
Benigno Fitial
Covenant Party
January 2006

Legislative branch

The Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature has two chambers. The House of Representatives has 18 members, elected for a two year term in single-seat constituencies. The Senate has 9 members, elected for a two year term in single-seat constituencies. Furthermore the Commonwealth does not have a nonvoting delegate in the US Congress as the other United States insular areas do. Instead, it has an elected official or "resident representative" located in Washington, DC who speaks for the Commonwealth on national issues.

Political parties and elections

Judicial branch

Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal District Court

International organization participation

ESCAP (associate), Interpol (subbureau), SPC

Political culture

Historically, the Northern Mariana Islands have been subject to the colonizing powers of Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States under a United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Agreement. Each power contributed elements that mixed with local indigenous cultures to form the current political culture of the Northern Mariana Islands.

When United States citizenship was granted in 1986 to people who qualified as descendents of the Northern Marianas, few among the island's native population had been adequately prepared for democracy. As a result, politics in the Northern Mariana Islands is often "more a function of family relationships and personal loyalties" where the size of one's extended family is more important than a candidate's personal qualifications. Both scholarly works and the authors of the controversial website Saipansucks.com charge that this is nepotism carried out within the trappings of democracy. [http://worldcatlibraries.org/wcpa/oclc/58992651] [http://www.saipantribune.com/archives/newsstoryarch.aspx?cat=3&newsID=1594&archdte=3/30/1999%2012:00:00%20AM] .

ee also

Political party strength in the Northern Mariana Islands

External links

* [http://www.chamorro.com/fft/ Food for Thought - Weekly CNMI political commentary by KZMI and KCNM manager Harry Blalock]


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