- Federated States of Micronesia
The latter part of 2006 brought an air of political excitement and anticipation. The people were excited about the biannual national election scheduled for March 2007; they had anticipated that the election for the at-large seats in the four states would be hard fought because some of the likely candidates had expressed interest in seeking the presidency.
The inauguration ceremony for the new national administration took place on 16 July 2007. This was a public celebration of the peaceful transition of political power from the administration of Joseph Ursemal to that of Emmanuel "Manny" Mori. The actual transition from the previous administration to the current one took place in May 2007. It occurred on the same day that the 15th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) met to organize itself and elect the new president and vice president. The election of the president and vice president take place after the national election when the district members (with two-year terms) and the at-large members (with four-year terms) are elected, that is, every four years.
Following the national election in March 2007, the FSM Congress met in its first regular session on 11 May. Although then incumbent President Joseph Ursemal of Yap easily won reelection to the national congress, he failed in his bid to retain the presidency. Instead, the congress elected at-large senator Manny Mori from Chuuk. The new president is an FSM Congress veteran of four years. He was first elected in the 2003 special election to fill Chuuk's at-large seat, which Redley Killion had vacated when he became vice president. Four years later, during the March 2007 election, Mori easily defeated incumbent Vice President Killion for the same seat.
Ursemal's failed presidential attempt was the culmination of a deteriorating relationship between his administration and the FSM Congress caused by two lawsuits: the president's suit against congress to have a public law declared unconstitutional, and the congress's suit against the president to declare several of his vetoes unconstitutional. In addition, the congress felt that the president had completely ignored its recommendation regarding the passport scandal at the embassy in Washington DC (FSM Government 2006), and the unauthorized borrowing of funds by the FSM ambassador to the United States to help defray the cost of running the embassy (Haglelgam 2007). Investigations of the unauthorized borrowing and the passport scandal resulted in criminal charges being filed against the ambassador and his driver, a citizen of the Philippines. [End Page 192]
The results of the March election were not as close as political analysts in the Federated States had predicted. The contest for the at-large seats in Chuuk, between then Vice President Redley Killion and Senator Manny Mori, and in Pohnpei, between Speaker Peter Christian and Senator Resio Moses, were billed as precursors for the FSM presidential election. President Ursemal ran unopposed for his former at-large seat in the congress. Ramon Peyal, who had won that seat during the special election in 2003, voluntarily stepped aside as previously agreed to allow the president to overcome the first hurdle in his reelection bid. This was interpreted as a sign of the Yap leadership's continuing support for the president.
Two proposed amendments to the FSM national constitution—one regarding dual citizenship, and the other extending full faith and credit to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings across state lines—were submitted for ratification by the voters during the election. Both amendments failed to obtain two-third of the votes in at least three states as required by the national constitution. This was the third time in four years that the voters had rejected the dual citizenship amendment.
The results of the March election were as follows: For Chuuk State, Manny Mori won the at-large seat with a total of 12,932 votes, with the five district seats being taken up by Peter Sitan (1,864 votes); Roosevelt D Kansou (2,099 votes); Joe N Suka (1,964 votes); Tiwiter H Aritos (3,870 votes); and Moses A Nelson (1,058 votes). Both the dual citizenship and full faith and credit...