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World > Oceania > Northern Mariana Islands > Government (Facts)

Northern Mariana Islands - Government (Facts)
Country name: conventional 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
Government type: commonwealth; self-governing with locally elected governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature
Capital: name: Saipan
geographic coordinates: 15 12 N, 145 45 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: none (commonwealth in political union with the US); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are four municipalities at the second order: Northern Islands, Rota, Saipan, Tinian
Independence: none (commonwealth in political union with the US)
National holiday: Commonwealth Day, 8 January (1978)
Constitution: Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands effective 1 January 1978; Covenant Agreement fully effective 4 November 1986
Legal system: based on US system, except for customs, wages, immigration laws, and taxation
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; indigenous inhabitants are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President George W. BUSH of the US (since 20 January 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since 20 January 2001)
head of government: Governor Benigno R. FITIAL (since 9 January 2006); Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. VILLAGOMEZ (since 9 January 2006)
cabinet: the cabinet consists of the heads of the 10 principal departments under the executive branch who are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; other members include Special Assistants to the governor and office heads appointed by and reporting directly to the governor
elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; governor and lieutenant governor elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 5 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009)
election results: Benigno R. FITIAL elected governor in a four-way race; percent of vote - Benigno R. FITIAL 28.07%, Heinz HOFSCHNEIDER 27.34%, Juan BABAUTA 26.6%, Froilan TENORIO 17.99%
Legislative branch: bicameral Legislature consists of the Senate (9 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year staggered terms) and the House of Representatives (18 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve two-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 5 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2009); House of Representatives - last held 5 November 2005 (next to be held in November 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Covenant Party 3, Republican Party 3, Democratic Party 2, independent 1; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Covenant Party 7, Republican Party 7, Democratic Party 2, independent 2
note: the Northern Mariana Islands does not have a nonvoting delegate in the US Congress; instead, it has an elected official or 'resident representative' in Washington, DC; seats by party - Republican Party 1 (Pedro A. TENORIO)
Judicial branch: Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal District Court
Political parties and leaders: Covenant Party [Benigno R. FITIAL]; Democratic Party [Dr. Carlos S. CAMACHO]; Republican Party [Juan S. REYES]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: Interpol (subbureau), SPC, UPU
Flag description: blue, with a white, five-pointed star superimposed on the gray silhouette of a latte stone (a traditional foundation stone used in building) in the center, surrounded by a wreath


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