GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS

PRESIDENTIAL CABINET 

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 (Parliament). The President appoints cabinet ministers from amongst the Nitijela members to lead the government ministries with the approval of the Nitijela.

  • Her Excellency Hilda C. Heine, President 
  • Honorable Mattlan M. Zackras- Minister In-Assistance to the President
  • Honorable John M. Silk – Minister of Foreign Affairs 
  • Honorable Brenson S. Wase – Minister of Finance
  • Honorable Thomas Heine – Minister of Justice
  • Honorable Wilbur Heine - Minister of Education 
  • Honorable Kalani Kaneko – Minister of Health
  • Honorable Amenta Matthew – Minister of Internal Affairs 
  • Honorable Alfred Alfred, Jr. – Minister of Resources & Development 
  • Honorable Anthony M. Muller – Minister of Public Works
  • Honorable Michael J. Halferty – Minister of Transportation & Communication 

THE NITIJELA (NATIONAL PARLIAMENT)

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. 

Nitijela Leadership:

  • Honorable Kenneth A. Kedi, Speaker of Nitijela
  • Honorable Jejwarick H. Anton, Vice Speaker of Nitijela 

Senators:

  • Ailinglaplap – Senator Christopher J. Loeak, Minister Alfred Alfred, Jr.
  • Ailuk - Senator Maynard Alfred
  • Arno - Vice Speaker Jejwarick H. Anton, Minister Mike J. Halferty
  • Aur - President Hilda C. Heine, PhD Ed.
  • Ebon - Senator John M. Silk 
  • Enewetak - Senator Jack Ading 
  • Jabat - Senator Kessai Note 
  • Jaluit - Senator Casten Nemra, Senator Daisy Alik-Momotaro 
  • Kili – Senator Eldon Note
  • Kwajalein - Senator Michael Kabua, Senator Alvin T. Jacklick, Senator David Paul 
  • Lae - Minister Thomas Heine 
  • Lib - Senator Jerakoj J. Bejang 
  • Likiep – Senator Leander Leander, Jr. 
  • Majuro - Minister Brenson S. Wase, Minister Kalani Kaneko, Minister Anthony Muller, Senator David Kramer, Senator Sherwood Tibon
  • Maloelap – Senator Bruce Bilimon 
  • Mejit – Senator Dennis Momotaro 
  • Mili - Minister Wilbur Heine
  • Namu - Senator Tonyokwe Aiseia 
  • Namdrik – Minister Mattlan Zackhras 
  • Rongelap - Speaker Kenneth Kedi 
  • Utrik - Minister Amenta Matthew 
  • Ujae - Senator Atbi Riklon
  • Wotje - Senator Litokwa Tomeing 
  • Wotho - Senator David Kabua 

For more information, click on the Nitijela’s website here: https://www.rmiparliament.org

THE COUNCIL OF IROIJ

The Council of Iroij is the upper house of the Marshall Islands bicameral parliament. 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.

Council of Iroij Leadership:

  • Iroijlaplap Kotak Loeak, Chairman
  • Iroijlaplap Lein P. Zedkeia, Vice Chairman

Members:

  • Iroijlaplap Kotak Loeak, Chairman
  • Royal Clan: Mojen eo an Loeak, Ralik Chain
  • Iroijlaplap Lein P. Zedkeia, Vice Chairman
  • Royal Clan: Mona eo an Tobinwa, Majuro Atoll
  • Iroij Boklong Zackios, Member
  • Royal Clan: Mona eo an Limojwa, Ratak Chain
  • Iroij Jimata Kabua, Member
  • Royal Clan: Mojen eo an Laelan, Ratak Chain
  • Iroij Lejje Loeak, Member
  • Royal Clan: Mojen eo an Litokwa, Ralik Chain
  • Iroij Drile K. Kabua, Member
  • Royal Clan: Mojen eo an Jeimata, Ralik Chain
  • Iroij Rakinmeto Solomon, Member
  • Royal Clan: N/A, Mejit Island
  • Iroij Katwel Jormelu, Member
  • Royal Clan: N/A, Arno Atoll
  • Leroij Aine Joseph, Member
  • Royal Clan: N/A, Mili Atoll
  • Iroij Neruji Joanes, Member
  • Royal Clan: N/A, Ujelang & Enewetak
  • Leroij Loies Jerbal, Member
  • Royal Clan: N/A, Aerok Maloelap Atoll
  • Owner Melvin Narruhn, Member
  • Owner’s Clan: Debrum’s Family, Likiep Atoll

GOVERNMENT HISTORY

Germany purchased the Marshall Islands from Spain in 1899. Japan seized the Islands in 1914, governing them under a League of Nations mandate until the U.S. Navy occupied them in 1945. In 1947, the islands became part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under United Nations trusteeship. The Constitution of the Marshall Islands entered into force on May 1, 1979, at which time the parliament chose Amata Kabua to be the country’s first President. In 1983, the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States, which entered into force in 1986. Under the Compact, the country is fully sovereign in domestic and foreign affairs, but gives responsibility for defense to the United States. 

GOVERNMENT ORGANZIATION 

The government of the Marshall Islands operates under a mixed parliamentary- presidential system, which includes a ead of state—the President, who is also the head of government—and a bicameral parliament—the Council of Iroij (the upper house) and the Nitijela (the elected lower house). 

Executive: Executive power lies with the President, who is elected by the Nitijela, and the Presidential Cabinet. The President appoints cabinet ministers to leading positions in the government departments with the approval of the Nitijela. 

Legislative: Legislative power resides in the Nitijela, which 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. Although no legal restrictions exist against the formation of political parties, no formal parties exist. Two ad hoc parties have existed since the mid 1990s. 

Council of Iroij: The Council of Iroij is comprised of 12 tribal chiefs who advise the Presidential Cabinet and review legislation affecting customary law or any traditional practice, including land tenure. 

POLITICAL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES 

Freedom of Speech and the Press: The government respects freedom of speech and the press. A privately owned weekly newspaper, the Marshall Islands Journal, publishes in both English and the Marshallese languages. There are several radio stations (one is state-owned) which give voice to a range of views. Cable television broadcasts local news as well as U.S. programs. 

Judicial Independence: The Judiciary is independent, and the rule of law is well established. The government respects the right to a fair trial. Both the national and local police honor legal civil rights protections in performing their duties. There are no restrictions on religious observance in this predominantly Christian country. 

CONSTITUTION (PREAMBLE)

We, the people of the Marshall Islands, trusting in God, the Giver of our life, liberty, identity and our inherent rights do hereby exercise these rights and establish for ourselves and generations to come this Constitution, setting forth the legitimate legal framework for the governance of the Marshall Islands. 

We have reason to be proud of our forefathers who boldly ventured across the unknown waters of the vast Pacific Ocean many centuries ago, ably responding to the constant challenges of maintaining a bare existence on these tiny islands in their noble quest to build their own distinctive society. 

This society has survived, and has withstood the test of time, the impact of other cultures, the devastation of war, and the high price paid for the purposes of international peace and security. All we have and are today as a people, we have received as a sacred heritage which we pledge ourselves to maintain, valuing nothing more dearly than our rightful home on these islands. 

With this Constitution, we affirm our desire and right to live in peace and harmony, subscribing to the principles of democracy, sharing the aspirations of all other peoples for a free and peaceful world, and striving to do all we can to assist in achieving this goal. 

We extend to other peoples what we profoundly seek from them: peace, friendship, mutual understanding, and respect for our individual idealism and our common humanity.

RMI FLAG

Significance: The deep blue background represents the Pacific Ocean. The white and orange bands represent the Ratak (Sunrise) and Ralik (Sunset) chains, respectively. The customary symbolism of orange as the color of bravery and white as the color of peace are also recognized. The star represents the cross of Christianity, with each of the 24 points signifying a municipal district of the RMI. The four main points represent the major centers of Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit and Wotje. The official flag is at an aspect ratio of 2:1.

 

RMI SEAL 

Description: The outstanding feature of the Seal is the stylized Angel of Peace centered with outstretched wings. 

Around the Angel, from the top and moving clockwise: 24 point star representing the 21 municipalities of the Republic. The four longer rays represent the 4 sub-centers of Majuro (the capital), Jaluit, Wotje, and Kwajalein Atolls. 

On either side of the star are the rays which are on the flag. Each ray is of two colors, one, orange representing bravery, and the other, white representing peace. The two-colored rays also represent the two chains of atolls, the Ratak (Sunrise) and the Ralik (Sunset). 

Next is a stylized fishing net, fish being the main staple of the diet of the Marshallese people. 

Next, a stylized sailing canoe, outrigger type, sails on the ocean (covering the bottom 1/3 of the seal). 

Under the stick chart is the word "SEAL." 

An island with stylized palm trees (coconut) is next. All of the Marshall Islands are low lying atolls. 

Above the right wing of the Angel is a "pounder", made out of a giant clam shell, and treasured by every family. This pounder is used to pound pandanus leaves, which are used for making mats, sails, and, traditionally, clothing. The pounder was a symbol of prosperity.  

Around the outer edges are the words "Republic of the Marshall Islands" and at the bottom, "Jepilpilin Ke ejukaan." 

The rim of the seal is a link chain representing that the islands are all linked together, half of the chain representing the Ralik group and the other half the Ratak. 

Protection of the Seal: A person who uses the seal or a representation of it, or anything that so resembles the seal as to be calculated to deceive or advertise or promote any commercial purposes, or for any purpose whatsoever without the permission of the Cabinet, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $500 and no more than $2,500, a term of imprisonment of not less that 6 months nor more than one year or both. Each individual use of the seal shall be considered a separate offense. 

RMI NATIONAL ANTHEM

"Forever Marshall Islands" (music and lyrics by President Amata Kabua) 

Marshallese

Ae-lon eo ao ion lo---me-to; Einwot wut ko loti ion dren e-lae; Kin me-ram in Me-kar jen ijo---i-lan; Erreo an romak ioir kin me---ram---in mour; Iltan pein A---nij ewel-eo---sim woj; Kejolit kij kin ijin ji-kir e-mol; Ijja-min I-lok jen in ao-le-mo ran; Anij an ro je-mem wo-nak-ke im kej ram-mon Ae-lin kein am. 

English

My island lies o'er the o-cean; Like a wreath of flowers upon the sea; With a light of Mekar from far a-bove; Shining with the brilliance of rays of life;. Our Fa-ther's wondrous cre-a-tion; Bequeathed to us, our Motherland; I'll never leave my dear home sweet home; God of our forefathers protect and bless forever Marshall Islands.