What Type Of Government Does Kiribati Have?

A typical scene from the Republic of Kiribati.
A typical scene from the Republic of Kiribati.

The Republic of Kiribati has a parliamentary representative democratic framework of governance where the President is the head of state and the head of government as well. The Republic was established in 1979 after Kiribati gained independence from the United Kingdom and adopted its constitution. In Kiribati, the Constitution is the supreme law in the country and dictates the sovereignty of Kiribati and outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.

The Executive Branch Of The Republic of Kiribati

In Kiribati, executive authority is vested in the President who is the head of government. He is also the country’s representative in international meetings in his capacity as the country’s head of state. After the general elections are held, the members of the National Assembly nominate three or four members from whom the President is democratically elected through a popular vote to serve a four-year term which can only be renewed twice. The President of Kiribati (also known as Te Beretitenti) has the responsibility of appointing the Vice President (the Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti), the Attorney General as well as the Cabinet Ministers. The Cabinet is composed of eight ministers who head their respective ministries. The primary role of the Executive is to implement government policies and to protect government interests both locally as well as internationally.

The Legislative Branch Of The Republic of Kiribati

Kiribati has a unicameral House of Assembly (Maneaba Ni Maungatabu), which is mandated to formulate legislation and amend the country’s constitution and wield the country’s legislative authority. The National Assembly was created on July 12th, 1979 as one of the provisions of the 1979 Constitution of Kiribati. The Kiribati parliament is made up of 46 seats where 45 are members of parliament while one ex-officio member is the Attorney General. Of the 45 members, 44 are from the mainland while one is a delegate from the Banaba Island. The members of the National Assembly are elected by universal adult suffrage. The speaker of the national assembly is elected by members of parliament and is responsible for moderating parliamentary proceedings. The speaker also has the power to adjourn a sitting if the house lacks the required quorum in response to an objection raised by a Member of Parliament. The National Assembly is responsible for selecting three to four nominees from the house to run for the presidency.

The Judicial Branch Of The Republic of Kiribati

The Judiciary of Kiribati is mandated by the Constitution to administer fair and impartial justice. The country’s judicial system is composed of several (over 20) magistrate courts spread across the country, the High Court and the Court of Appeal are located in the capital city. Capital offenses and other serious civil and criminal cases are handled by the High Court while the Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court. Typical cases are presided over by a single magistrate. The President is mandated by the Constitution to make all judicial appointments on the advice of the Public Service Commission. The judiciary also features the Land Division which is responsible for handling appeals from land, inheritance, and divorce disputes.


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