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State structure

On 1 January 1981, the then district of Palau became a republic. The US Congress approved a treaty of free association with the Marshall Islands and Micronesia in 1985 and 1986, and with Palau, which then became independent, in 1994.

The Republic of Palau has a democratically elected parliament with a popularly elected president at the head of government. Palau's national congress, the Olbiil Era Kelulau, consists of two chambers with 30 members. The House of Representatives consists of 16 members, one from each state. The Senate, based on the number of inhabitants of a district, has 14 members. The members of two chambers and the president are elected every four years. The government of Palau consists of the president, a vice-president, four ministers and an attorney general.

There is also a council of chiefs which advises the president on legislation affecting Palau's customs and traditions. Palau's political structure is similar to that of the United States with a federal government and district governments. Although there are districts with fewer than 100 inhabitants, each district has a governor. A High Commissioner appointed by the President of the United States is responsible for ensuring that the United States fulfils its duties, as set out in the Trust Treaty of 1947. Defence and foreign affairs are managed by the United States at least until 2044. For the current political situation, see History section.


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. Palau has 26 primary schools, 6 secondary schools and one technical school.


Galbraith, K. / Micronesia
Lonely Planet

Levy, N.M. / Micronesia handbook Moon

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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