Congress Returns to Chamber for Session
PALIKIR, POHNPEI. November 21, 2022– After almost three years of virtual meetings and sessions, Speaker Wesley W. Simina has finally called for the Members of the Congress to return to Palikir for its first “in-person session” after the coronavirus outbreak that took over the world in early 2020.
The “in-person” Sixth Special Session of the Twenty Second Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia will convene on November 28, 2022, for a 10-day duration to continue review of measures pending before the Body and various budgetary matters that include the PII judgement, Supreme Court Annex and a new building for the Department of Education.
As the first “in-person” session after two years and seven months of virtual sessions, the Sixth Special Session adds to the various ‘firsts’ by the Congress following the Nation’s lockdown of 2020. When the FSM locked down its borders in early March 2020, the FSM Congress convened its first ever online session in April 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the ‘First’ Pacific Parliament to convene a virtual session.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the FSM Congress had set “good parliamentary practices, while efficiently and effectively responding to the emergency. Their experience of the virtual session, which is the first in the Pacific region, can guide Pacific parliaments in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and beyond.”
The Congress made various amendments to its Rules of Procedures (ROP) to allow for many ‘firsts’ in the national Body and primary among its many amendments was the adoption of Congressional Resolution (CR) 21-132. Adoption of the resolution amended the ROP to allow “in extraordinary circumstances” that prevents the Members of Congress from meeting in the same place, to meet “remotely via teleconference or online in different locations.”
With its ROP amended, the Congress began its series of ‘first’ for the FSM’s Legislative Branch:
- May 11, 2021 was the ‘first’ virtual Administration of Oath and seating a newly elected 22nd Congressional Body;
- December 2021, the Oath of Office was virtually administered to the ‘first’ woman seated to the FSM Congress since its constitutional inception in 1979; and
- September 2022, a ‘first’ virtual Oath was administered to a Vice President of the Nation.
During the pandemic, the Congress continued its mandates under the FSM Constitution and expanded its responsibilities to properly ensure continued economic growth for the Nation and safeguard the health and social welfare of its people against the global rippling effects of the coronavirus.
The ‘in-person’ Sixth Special Session signals the Nation’s return to normalcy post COVID. As called, the special session is set to convene on Monday – November 28, 2022 at 10am, Pohnpei Time in the Congress Chamber in Palikir and it is open to the interested public. As has been the practice, the Sixth Special Session of the 22nd FSM Congress can also be followed live online through the FSM Congress website: www.cfsm.congress.gov.fm