Politics of Palau

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politics and government of

Politics of Palau takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, where by the President of Palau is both head of state and head of government, and Palau currently has no political parties. It is a de facto non-partisan democracy since no law prevents the formation of political parties. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Palau National Congress. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Executive branch

Presidential elections take place every four years, when the president and vice president run on separate tickets. The president, who is the chief of state and head of government, is currently Tommy Remengesau.

Palau Capitol Building

Legislative branch

The Palau National Congress (Olbiil era Kelulau) consists of two chambers - the Senate and the House of Delegates. The Senate has nine members elected nationwide. The House has 16 members, one from each of Palau's states. All legislators serve 4-year terms. Each state also elects its own governor and legislature.

The Council of Chiefs advises the president on traditional laws and customs. It is made up of the highest traditional chiefs from each state. Yutaka Gibbons (of Koror) is Chairman of the Council of Chiefs.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Palau. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Palau.
 Summary of the 2 November 2004 Palau National Congress election results
Members House of Delegates Senate
Non-partisans 16 9
Total 16 9

Judicial branch

Main article: Judiciary of Palau

The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court, National Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Land Court. The Supreme Court has trial and appellate divisions and is presided over by the Chief Justice of Palau.

Political history

Palau adopted a constitution on January 1, 1981.

While calm in recent years, Palau witnessed several instances of political violence in the 1980s. The republic's first president, Haruo I. Remeliik, was assassinated in 1985; the Minister of State was found to be complicit in the crime. Palau's third president, Lazarus Salii, committed suicide in August 1988 amid bribery allegations. Salii's personal assistant had been imprisoned several months earlier after being convicted of firing shots into the home of the Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Palau gained independence from the United Nations trusteeship administered by the United States on 1 October 1994 and entered a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

The Senate passed legislation making Palau an "offshore" financial center in 1998. Opponents to the legislation voiced fears that the country would become a haven for money launderers and other sorts of criminal activity. In December 1999, a group of major international banks banned U.S. dollar-denominated transactions involving Palau and the other Pacific island states of Vanuatu and Nauru.[1]


  1. Field, Michael (December 21, 1999). "World Banks Isolate Three Pacific Countries: Nauru, Palau and Vanuatu Accused of Money Laundering". Pacific Islands Report. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
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