Single citizenship required of OEK
By: L.N. Reklai
To be a member of Olbiil Era Kelulau, either House of Delegates or Senate, a person must be citizen of Palau only, according to the amendment to the Constitution adopted during the November 2008 referendum.
“It is very challenging to be able to truly verify if person has only one citizenship or have dual citizenship. Our Board decided that we will start with requiring as part of criteria a copy of birth certificate. It is our part of our job to implement law,” stated Commissioner Maria Decherong. [restrict]
According to Election Commission, the original language of the Palau Constitution just said that to be a member of OEK a person must be a citizen of Palau. Now, it specifically states, “citizen of Palau only”. “This became law when we amended the Constitution in 2008 and we have to implement the Constitution.”
In 2008, a national referendum with 23 proposals to amend the Palau Constitution took place. One of those changes included amending Article IX Section 6 of the Constitution on the eligibility of members of OEK.
The amendment reads, “To be eligible to hold office in the Olbiil Era Kelulau, a person must be: a citizen of Palau only; not less then twenty-five (25) years of age; a resident of Palau for not less than five (5) years immediately, preceding the election and a resident of the district in which he wishes to run for office not less than one (1) year, preceding election.”
This amendment was approved by 80.8% of the votes cast.
To be eligible to hold office in the Olbiil Era Kelulau, a person must be:
a citizen of Palau only; not less than twenty-five (25) years of age; a resident of Palau for not less than five (5) years immediately, preceding the election, and a resident of the district in which he wishes to run for office for not less than one (1) year immediately, preceding the election. [/restrict]