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Northern Mariana Islands Government Profile 2017

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Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
conventional short form: Northern Mariana Islands
abbreviation: CNMI
former: Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Mariana Islands District
etymology: formally claimed and named by Spain in 1667 in honor of the Spanish Queen, MARIANA of Austria
Dependency statuscommonwealth in political union with the US; federal funds to the Commonwealth administered by the US Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs
Government typepresidential democracy; a commonwealth in political union with the US
Capitalname: Saipan
geographic coordinates: 15 12 N, 145 45 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisionsnone (commonwealth in political union with the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 4 municipalities at the second order: Northern Islands, Rota, Saipan, Tinian
Independencenone (commonwealth in political union with the US)
National holidayCommonwealth Day, 8 January (1978)
Constitutionpartially effective 9 January 1978 (Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands); fully effective 4 November 1986 (Covenant Agreement); amended several times, last in 2012 (2016)
Legal systemUS system applies, except for customs, wages, immigration laws, and taxation
Citizenshipsee United States
Suffrage18 years of age; universal; note - indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branchchief of state: President Donald J. TRUMP (since 20 January 2017); Vice President Michael R. PENCE (since 20 January 2017)
head of government: Governor Eloy S. INOS (since 20 February 2013); Lieutenant Governor Ralph TORRES (since 20 February 2013)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected on the same ballot by an Electoral College of 'electors' chosen from each state; president and vice president serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); under the US Constitution, residents of the Northern Mariana Islands do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican party presidential primary elections; governor directly elected by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed; election last held on 4 November 2014 with a runoff on 21 November 2014 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Eloy S. INOS reelected governor; percent of vote in runoff - Eloy S. INOS (Republican) 57%, Heinz HOFSCHNEIDER (Republican) 43%; Ralph TORRES reelected lieutenant governor
note: Benigno R. FITIAL was impeached by House of Representatives on 11-12 February 2013 and resigned on 20 February 2013; Eloy INOS (Republican) sworn in as governor the same day
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Northern Mariana Commonwealth Legislature consists of the Senate (9 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms) and the House of Representatives (20 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 2-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on November 2020); House of Representatives - last held on 8 November 2016 (next to be held on November 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Covenant Party 3, Republican Party 3, Democratic Party 1, independent 2; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Republican Party 14, independents 6
note: the Northern Mariana Islands directly elects 1 member by simple majority vote to serve a 2-year term as a delegate to the US House of Representatives; the delegate can vote when serving on a committee and when the House meets as the Committee of the Whole House, but not when legislation is submitted for a “full floor” House vote; election of delegate last held on 4 November 2014 (next to be held on 8 November 2016)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or CNMI (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); US Federal District Court (consists of 1 judge); note - US Federal District Court jurisdiction limited to US federal laws; appeals beyond the Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court are referred to the US Supreme Court
judge selection and term of office: judges of the Supreme Court of the CNMI appointed by the governor and confirmed by the CNMI Senate; judges appointed for 8-year terms and can serve another term if approved through voter election; US Federal District Court judges appointed by the US president and confirmed by the US Senate; judges appointed for renewable 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Superior Court
Political parties and leadersCovenant Party [Benigno R. FITIAL]
Democratic Party [Dr. Carlos S. CAMACHO]
Republican Party [Juan S. REYES]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationPIF (observer), SPC, UPU
Flag descriptionblue with a white, five-pointed star superimposed on a gray latte stone (the traditional foundation stone used in building) in the center, surrounded by a wreath; blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean, the star represents the Commonwealth; the latte stone and the floral head wreath display elements of the native Chamorro culture
National symbol(s)latte stone; national colors: blue, white
National anthemname: "Gi Talo Gi Halom Tasi" (In the Middle of the Sea)
lyrics/music: Jose S. PANGELINAN [Chamoru], David PETER [Carolinian]/Wilhelm GANZHORN
note: adopted 1996; the Carolinian version of the song is known as "Satil Matawal Pacifico;" as a commonwealth of the US, in addition to the local anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is official (see United States)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017