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Politics of Kiribati

The constitution promulgated at independence on July 12, 1979, establishes Kiribati as a sovereign democratic republic and guarantees the fundamental rights of its citizens.

The unicameral House of Assembly (Maneaba) has 41 members: 39 elected representatives; one appointed member from Banaba, and the Attorney General on an ex officio basis. All of the members of the Maneaba serve 4-year terms. The speaker for the legislature is elected by the Maneaba from outside of its membership.

After each general election, the new Maneaba nominates three or four of its members to stand as candidates for president (Beretitenti). The voting public then elects the president from among these candidates. A cabinet of up to 10 members is appointed by the president from among the members of the Maneaba.

The judicial system consists of the High Court, a court of appeal, and magistrates' courts. All judicial appointments are made by the president.

Political conditions
Political parties exist but are more similar to informal coalitions in behavior. They do not have official platforms or party structures. Most candidates formally present themselves as independents.

A major source of conflict has been the protracted bid by the residents of Banaban Island to secede and have their island placed under the protection of Fiji. The government's attempts to placate the Banabans include several special provisions in the constitution, such as the designation of a Banaban seat in the legislature and the return of land previously acquired by the government for phosphate mining.

The most recent parliamentary elections were held in September 1998. New elections will be held no later than September 2002.

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
conventional short form: Kiribati
note: pronounced kir-ih-bahss
former: Gilbert Islands

Data code: KR

Government type: republic

Capital: Tarawa

Administrative divisions: 3 units; Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
note: in addition, there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)

Independence: 12 July 1979 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1979)

Constitution: 12 July 1979

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Teburoro TITO (since 1 October 1994); Vice President Tewareka TENTOA (since 12 October 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Teburoro TITO (since 1 October 1994); Vice President Tewareka TENTOA (since 12 October 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of Assembly, includes the president, vice president, attorney general, and up to eight other ministers
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; note - the House of Assembly chooses the presidential candidates from among their members and then those candidates compete in a general election; election last held 27 November 1998 (next to be held by NA November 2002); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Teburoro TITO reelected president; percent of vote - Teburoro TITO 52.3%, Dr. Harry TONG 45.8%, Amberoti NIKORA 1.9%, Taberannang TIMEON 0%

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (41 seats; 39 elected by popular vote, one ex officio member, and one nominated to represent Banaba; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 23 September 1998 (next to be held by NA September 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Maneaban Te Mauri Party 14, National Progressive Party 11, independents 14

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, judges at all levels are appointed by the president; High Court, judges at all levels are appointed by the president; 26 Magistrates' courts, judges at all levels are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Party [Tewareka TENTOA]; Maneaban Te Mauri Party [Teburoro TITO]; National Progressive Party [Teatao TEANNAKI]; New Movement Party [leader NA]
note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures

International organization participation: ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US: Kiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the ambassador to the Marshall Islands is accredited to Kiribati

Flag description: the upper half is red with a yellow frigate bird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the ocean

See also : Kiribati



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