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Nitijela (Parliament)


Parliament name (generic / translated) Nitijela / Parliament
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Structure of parliament Unicameral
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1993 - 2003
2018 -
President Kenneth Kedi (M) 
Notes Elected on 4 Jan. 2016.
Secretary General Morean Watak (F) 
Notes Sworn in on 6 May 2016.
Members (statutory / current number) 33 / 33

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Women (current number) 3 (9.09%)
Mode of designation directly elected 33
Term 4 years
Last renewal dates 16 November 2015
(View details)
Address Nitijela
Parliament Building
P.O. Box 24 - 96960 MAJURO
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (692) 625 86 78
625 86 79
Fax (692) 625 36 87
E-mail lenaemma@hotmail.com (Assistant Clerk)


Parliament name (generic / translated) Nitijela / Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Electoral law 31 December 1980
Mode of designation directly elected 33
Constituencies - 24 constituencies (districts), of which:
- 19 single-member
- 5 multi-member (2 to 5 seats)

Voting system Majority: Simple majority system.
Each elector has votes equivalent to the number of seats to be filled in the constituency in which he/she resides or has land rights.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled through by-elections.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- Marshall Islands citizenship
- residence or land rights in the constituency where voting
- disqualifications: insanity, sentence (or parole) pursuant to conviction for felony
Eligibility Qualified electors
- age: 21 years
- Marshall Islands citizenship
Incompatibilities - public servants
Candidacy requirements (data unavailable)


Parliament name (generic / translated) Nitijela / Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 16 November 2015
Timing and scope of renewal The 2015 elections saw half of the members of the government and many senior figures of the ruling Aelon Kein Ad party ("Our Island" - AKA) lose their parliamentary seats. Although candidates are officially non-partisan and their party affiliation may change after the elections, many of them belong either to the AKA or Kien Eo Am ("Your Government" - KEA). The KEA was established in 2011 by former AKA members, supporting the then President Jurelang Zedkai who passed away in October 2015. Following the 2015 elections, the KEA, now led by Mr. Alvin Jacklick, reportedly controlled 23 seats in the 33-member Parliament.

The high turnover in 2015 resulted in the election of younger candidates. Mr. Sherwood Tibon (KEA) scored the highest number of votes in the capital Majuro, campaigning as the "voice of youth". A record three women were elected in 2015, up from one in previous legislatures.

Prior to the first session, the KEA and newly-elected independent members as well as some former AKA members formed the "Solid 8" coalition.

On 4 January 2016, the newly-elected parliament held its first session and elected Mr. Kenneth Kedi (Solid 8) as its new Speaker. A first-time member, Mr. Casten Nemra (AKA), was elected as the country's President by a one-vote margin against the former Speaker Alvin Jacklick (Solid 8).

On 25 January, however, parliament adopted a vote of no-confidence against the new President, giving him the shortest term in office in the country's history. On 27 January, Ms. Hilda C. Heine (Solid 8) was elected as the new President, thereby becoming the first woman to assume the post.
Date of previous elections: 21 November 2011

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 30 November 2015

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: 18 November 2019

Number of seats at stake: 33 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 98 (93 men, 5 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 0.5%

Number of parties contesting the election: 2*
*Candidates are officially non-partisan and their party affiliation may change after the elections.

Number of parties winning seats: 2

Alternation of power: Yes

Number of parties in government: 1*
*"Solid 8" coalition

Names of parties in government: "Solid 8" coalition, comprising the Kien Eo Am ("Your Government" - KEA), independent members and some former members of the Aelon Kein Ad ("Our Island" - AKA)

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 4 January 2016*
*The first Monday in January.

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Kenneth Kedi (Solid 8)
Voter turnout
Distribution of votes
Distribution of seats
Distribution of seats according to sex


Percent of women


Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Source: Parliament (04.01.2016, 27.01.2016, 30.01.2016, 02.02.2016)


Parliament name (generic / translated) Nitijela / Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Title Speaker of Parliament
Term - duration: 4 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, death, dissolution of the Parliament
Appointment - elected by all Members of the Parliament
- election is held at the first sitting of the newly elected Parliament
- after Members' mandates are validated and before Members are sworn in
Eligibility - any Member of the Parliament may be a candidate
- formal notification is required
- deadline for notification: 60 days prior to the general election

Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot
- one round by simple majority
Procedures / results - the former Speaker presides over the Parliament during the voting
- the Clerk supervises the voting
- the Clerk announces the results without any delay
- the results can be challenged by the Members of the Parliament
Status - may be called upon as acting Head of State when the President dies
- represents the Parliament with the public authorities
- is ex officio member of bodies outside Parliament
- represents the Parliament in international bodies
- in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker can assume his/her role and functions
Material facilities - bi-weekly payment from the Government
- sitting allowance
- housing allowance
- official residence
- official car
- secretariat
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda
- organizes the debates and sets speaking time
- examines the admissibility of bills and amendments with the Legislative Counsel of the Parliament
- refers texts to a committee for study
- examines the admissibility of request for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry, proposes or decides on the setting up of such committees
- may appoint committees and/or their presiding officers
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes, as well as the Clerk, announcements concerning the Parliament
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up and selects which amendments are to be debated
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- may interpret the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Parliament, but it is the responsability of the Legislative Counsel of the Parliament
- has discretionary power to give the floor outside the agenda and thus organizes impromptu debates
Special powers - establishes public hearings with the Parliament's Budget Committee
- recruits, assigns and promotes staff in consultation with the Public Service Commission
- makes recommendation of his selection of the Clerk, then informs the Public Service Commission of the selection
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Parliament
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - proposes bills or amendments; establishes rules and regulations for the Parliament
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- must be consulted in certain circumstances (dissolution...)

This page was last updated on 25 October 2017
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