Nauru is a small nation which gained independence in 1968. Nauru has a parliamentary representative democratic system of government where the President of Nauru is the head of government and is elected by the legislature. Both the Legislature and Executive wield legislative power while judicial power is vested solely on the Judiciary which is independent of the other arms of government.
Constitution of Nauru
The Constitution of Nauru is the supreme law in the country, and all other subordinate laws are formed based on its provisions. The Constitution of Nauru is made up of 6 schedules and 11 parts which are further subdivided into 100 articles. All of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Nauru citizens are protected by the Constitutions and are analyzed in depth in Part II of the Constitution. The arms of government are dictated by the Constitution and are composed of the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary with their respective roles and composition being discussed in Part III, IV, and V of the Constitution. The current Constitution of Nauru was promulgated on January 31st, 1968 after the country gained independence.
According to the Constitution of Nauru, the Executive branch of government is mandated to implement all government policies and also to look into government interests both locally and internationally. Part III of the Constitution dictates that the Executive is to be composed of the President and the Cabinet and is collectively responsible to the Legislature, where Parliament has the authority to summon the Executive to explain any questionable policies. The President of Nauru is elected by members of the National Assembly. The President wields executive authority and is responsible for the appointment of members of his cabinet. The President is also mandated to assign to each member of the cabinet the responsibility for any government business at his discretion. The President has the role of summoning cabinet meetings and presiding over such meetings.
The Legislature of Nauru forms the legislative branch of government. Part IV of the Constitution of Nauru provides for the establishment of the Legislature which features a unicameral (single-chambered) parliament. Initially, the National Assembly was composed of 18 members drawn from both the ruling party and the opposition. However, the 2010 elections saw each side of Parliament have nine members creating a deadlock in Parliament. In light of this development, the law was amended in 2012 and provided for the membership to increase to 19 members. The primary role of Parliament is to create new legislation as well as amend existing legislation. Another key function of Parliament is the election of the President. The members of Parliament are elected in general elections conducted in all eight constituencies through a positional voting system to serve a three-year term. The Speaker is the leader of the Legislature and is elected from the members of parliament by their colleagues. The primary role of the Speaker is to preside over parliamentary proceedings.
Part V of the Constitution of Nauru provides for the establishment of the Judiciary whose primary function is the administration of justice to all citizens of Nauru. The Chief Justice is the leader of the Judiciary and is also the head of the Supreme Court which is the highest judicial office in Nauru. The Supreme Court only handles constitutional cases. Appeals from cases handled in District Courts and Family Courts are heard by the Appellate Court. District Courts and Family Courts are headed by a Resident Magistrate.