The World of Info



State structure

The Constitution of the Federation of Micronesia came into force on 10 May 1979. The Federation has three levels of government: national, state and municipal. The national government is divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches, all of which also have "branches" in the individual states. The Federation Congress has one chamber with fourteen senators who meet in Palikir on Pohnpei. Each state has a senator in general office who remains in office for four years. The other ten senators are elected on the basis of the number of inhabitants of the state and they only hold office for two years. Chuuk will have five senators, Pohnpei three, Kosrae one and Yap one. The President and Vice-President, who cannot be from the same state, are elected by the Congressmen from among the senators in general office. They are elected for a period of four years. Each state has a governor who is elected by the people for four years.

The results of the elections are still strongly influenced by "peneinei" (family) and "keinek" (clan). At the municipal level, traditional chiefs still play an active role in government, especially at Yap, but also at Chuuk and Pohnpei. Often the chiefs' opinions are listened to before the people vote on certain matters. The mayor of a municipality is often also the local chief. In Kosrae, however, real mayors have completely replaced the chief system.

Yap still has two councils of traditional chiefs, the Council of Pilung of Yap Proper and the Council of Tamol made up of chiefs from the far-flung islands. The two councils can reject any legal decision if it violates the traditions. If the governor is from Yap Proper then the lieutenant governor must be from the remote islands and vice versa.


Education in Micronesia is generally free up to and including high school, but on most islands school is compulsory only until the age of 14. Higher education is only available in the main towns. The only university is the University of Guam, where many students from other islands also study. The largest university in the South Pacific is that of Fiji, with branches on Tarawa, Majuro and Nauru. The university is known for its marine laboratory.

The state government is responsible for the operation of primary and secondary education. The federal government takes care of supporting and coordinating activities. In East Johnpei is the Ponape Agriculture & Trade School. This is a Jesuit-run high school where four-year courses in agriculture, engineering and mechanics can be followed by about 160 pupils. The school is highly regarded because boys from all over Micronesia come here.

The Xavier High School, also run by Jesuits, on Weno, an island near Chuuk, opened in 1953 and was the first four-year school in Micronesia for about 150 pupils from the entire region..


Galbraith, K. / Micronesia Lonely Planet

Levy, N.M. / Micronesia handbook Moon

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info