State and politics
A Compact of Free Association treaty between the
Marshall Islands and the United States entered into force in
1986. According to the treaty, which was renewed in 2003 and
runs until 2023, the United States retains responsibility
for the Marshall Islands' defense and military bases in the
Marshall Islands and, at the same time, provides the
Marshall Islands with economic assistance.
It was not until 1990 that the UN agreed that the
Marshall Islands ceased to be part of the Pacific Island
Management Area. Marshall Islands was elected to the UN in
1991. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of MH and its meanings of Marshall Islands.
The Constitution of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
was adopted in 1979. The state of affairs is parliamentary.
Parliament, Nitijela, has 33 members, elected in
four years. They elect among themselves the president of the
republic, who appoints ministers, who must also be members
of parliament. In addition, there is an advisory assembly,
Iroij, with twelve chieftains as members.
Some formal political parties do not exist, but the
political associations that exist largely function as
The first President Amata Kabua (1928–96), who took
office in 1979 and was re-elected several times, was
succeeded in 1997 by his cousin Imata Kabua (1943–2019). In
2000, Kessai Note (born 1950) was elected president. He was
succeeded in 2008 by the former President and Opposition
Leader Litokwa Tomeing (born 1939). This was dismissed in
2009 after a vote of no confidence and the new President of
Parliament was appointed Jurelang Zedkaia (1950–2015). At
the end of 2011, parliamentary elections were held, and the
newly elected members in January 2012 appointed Christopher
Loeak (born 1952) as new president.
The incumbent government lost the parliamentary elections
in November 2015, but government supporters succeeded in
January 2016 despite having their candidate, Carsten Nemra
(born 1971), elected president. However, he lost a vote of
confidence in parliament that month and was replaced by
Hilda C. Heine (born 1951), who thus became the country's
first female president.
The legal system in the Marshall Islands is greatly
influenced by American law. The judiciary consists of the
Supreme Court and also includes special courts for
the application of local customary law (Traditional
Rights Court). The death penalty was abolished in
connection with the country's independence in 1979.
Heads of State
||Hilda C. Heine