FSM elects new leadership

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David W. Panuelo and Yosiwo P. George as president and vice president, respectively. (Photo from the FSM Public Information Office)

Pohnpei – During its first regular session on May 11, the 21st Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia elected David W. Panuelo and Yosiwo P. George as president and vice president, respectively.

Panuelo served as the senator-at-large for Pohnpei state while George, served as senator-at-large for Kosrae state. The body also elected the Speaker, Vice Speaker, and Floor Leader of the FSM Congress, according to information from the FSM government.

Congress elected Wesley W. Simina as Speaker; Esmond B. Moses as Vice Speaker, and; Florencio S. Harper as Floor Leader.

During the meeting convened under the new leadership, Panuelo and George discussed some of their objectives for the first regular session of the 21st Congress of the FSM.

The legislative proposals, according to the FSM government, include the FSM PetroCorps Transformation Act; an education bill redefining the role of the FSM’s secretary of the Department of Education over private school regulations, and; a debt management bill.

Panelo defeated outgoing president Peter Christian during elections held in March.

The FSM presidential election follows an unconventional process. There are four at large seats, one seat given to each of the four FSM states – Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae. The presidential seat, a required by law, must be rotated among the states but in practice, this has arrangement is hardly followed.

The presidency/vice presidency is only elected among the four occupants of the at-large seats by a majority vote of all members of Congress. The remaining 10 senators of Congress serve two-year terms, and the seats are apportioned by the population. The two-year term congressmen cannot be elected to the presidency.