The Chuuk independence referendum has been moved to 2022 — the third time it has been rescheduled. This morning, several experts on Chuuk politics shared the prospect of the vote happening in two years.
Chuuk is part of the Federated States of Micronesia and the campaign for secession continues to be a divisive issue in the Pacific nation.
The vote was originally scheduled in March 2015 to coincide with the federal elections but it was postponed to 2019, then postponed again, to March 2020, and then to 2022.
At the core of the push for the referendum is what the pro-independence movement describes as a funding inequity among the FSM states.
An online forum on the Chuuk Independence Campaign was hosted this morning by the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University.
Among those who spoke at the virtual forum was Manny Mori, who served as president of the FSM from 2007 to 2015. Mori has been very vocal about his opposition to the secession of Chuuk from the FSM, citing constitutional reasons. He says he believes that the vote will not happen in two years.
Mori said there are still unanswered questions from the two previous attempts to organize the referendum. He said “at least half of the people” already expressed their views on the referendum.
Francis X. Hezel is a Jesuit priest, who served as the director of Micronesian Seminar, a Jesuit-sponsored research-pastoral institute, and; Dr. Vidalino Raatior, a Chuukese who previously worked as the Director of the Pacific Islander Student Center at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, also spoke at the virtual forum.