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About the FSM
The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a grouping of 607 small islands in the Western Pacific about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, lying just above the Equator. Generally speaking, FSM comprises what is known as the Eastern and Western Caroline Islands. While the country's total land area amounts to only 270.8 square miles, it occupies more than one million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, and ranges 1,700 miles from East (Kosrae) to West (Yap). Each of the four States centers around one or more "high islands," and all but Kosrae include numerous atolls.
Chuuk State has a total land area of 49.2 square miles and includes seven major island groups. Pohnpei State has 133.4 square miles of land area, of which 130 is accounted for by Pohnpei island, the largest in FSM. Yap State is made up of 4 large islands, 7 small islands and 134 atolls, with a total land area of 45.6 square miles. Kosrae is essentially one high island of 42.3 square miles.
The FSM Constitution provides for three separate branches of government at the national level - Executive, Legislative and Judicial. It contains a Declaration of Rights similar to the US Bill of Rights, specifying basic standards of human rights consistent with international norms. It also contains a provision protecting traditional rights. Unlike the US system, however, most major governmental functions other than the conduct of foreign affairs and defense are carried out by the State governments.
The Congress of the FSM is unicameral with fourteen Senators - one from each state elected for a four-year term, and ten who serve two-year terms, whose seats are apportioned by population. Currently, Chuuk has six seats, Pohnpei four and two each are held by Yap and Kosrae. The President and Vice President are elected to four-year terms by the Congress, from among the four year Senators, and the vacant seats are then filled in special elections.
The Judicial Branch of the National Government is headed by the FSM Supreme Court, currently comprised of three Justices who sit in trial and appellate Divisions. At this time there are no other National courts. Justices are nominated by the President for a lifetime appointment and confirmed by the Congress.
The State Governments under their Constitutions are structurally similar, all utilizing three branches, Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Their makeups vary according to their different circumstances.
Additional information on the FSM is available at visit-fsm.org