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About the RMI
The Marshall Islands is made up of 29 coral atolls and 5 single islands spread out over an exclusive economic zone of nearly 1 million square miles. The Marshalls is one of only four atoll nations in the world and is also one of the world’s youngest nations, independent since 1986.
The government of the Marshall Islands operates under a mixed parliamentary- presidential system, which includes a head of state — the President, who is also the head of government — and a bicameral parliament — the Council of Iroij (the upper house) and Nitijela (the elected lower house).
Executive power lies with the President, who is head of state and head of government, and the Presidential Cabinet. The President is elected by the Nitijela. The President appoints cabinet ministers to leading positions in the government departments with the approval of the Nitijela.
Legislative power resides in the Nitijela, the lower house of the Marshall Islands bicameral parliament. It consists of 33 senators elected by 24 electoral districts by universal suffrage of all citizens above 18 years of age. The electoral districts correspond roughly to each atoll of the Marshall Islands. Four district centers—Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit, and Wotje—serve as local governments with an elected council, a mayor, appointed local officials, and a local police force. Funding for the district centers comes in the form of grants from the national government and revenues raised locally. No legal restrictions exist against the formation of political parties, and two parties currently exist.
The Council of Iroij is the upper house of the Marshall Islands bicameral parliament, while the Nitijela is the elected lower house. The Council is comprised of 12 tribal chiefs who advise the Presidential Cabinet and review legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice, including land tenure.