Senate to remain with 13 members, one district

  01 Jul 2016

Reapportionment Commission decides after one year delay

By: L.N. Reklai

June 29, 2016 (Koror) “The Senate shall be composed of the thirteen (13) members to be popularly elected in a Single Senatorial District.” This was the decision issued by the Congressional Reapportionment Commission (CRC) to the members of media and public on Wednesday, June 20th.  This decision became law upon its publication and will remain the structure of the Senate for the next 8 years. [restrict]

Some members of the public objected to the decision when it came out.  “Did you consult with the public?  Was the increase in Senate’s operating cost the only criteria you based your decisions on?  I don’t think it is in the best interest of the people of Palau” objected Moses Uludong at the presentation by the CRC.

Members of the Commission reiterated that they followed all the mandates in the law and reviewed all relevant information before making their decision.

“We reviewed latest census and the population trends over past 10 years as well as operating expenses of the Senate over the years.  We also looked at the principle that “no purposeful advantage may be given to senatorial incumbents”. We looked at the advantage of having a broad pool of skilled people to choose from in a “One Senatorial District,” reiterated Ongerung Kambes Kesolei, Vice Chair of the CRC.

Although 2016 Congressional Reapportionment Commission was a year late in its formation, it completed its report 120 days before the general election in compliance with the law.

The Commission was suppose to convene in 2015, which is 8 years after the last reapportionment in 2007.  According to 23 PNC, if the Commission fails to publish the plan within the specified time, the Trial Division of the Supreme Court will publish a reapportionment and redistricting plan within 30 days after the date the Commission was suppose to publish its plan.

The report states that the Trial Division of the Supreme Court did not publish a plan required but the Commission is still within the time frame stated in the Constitution to publish its report. [/restrict]