PALIKIR, POHNPEI. May 11, 2013 - The Opening Session of the new Eighteenth Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia convened in Palikir this morning and reshuffled the leadership of the national legislative body.
Senator Dohsis Halbert of Pohnpei has been seated as the Body’s new Speaker with Senator Paliknoa K. Welly of Kosrae as the new Vice Speaker and Florencio Singkoro Harper of Chuuk maintained as Floor Leader of the new 18th FSM Congress.
Opening Sessions not only mark the First Regular Session of a new Congress, but it also provides the platform for reorganization of the Congress leadership. With the new Presiding Officers, Congress reshuffled its’ chairmanship for the Congressional Committees.
The Presiding Officers of the new Eighteenth FSM Congress are:
Speaker: Senator Dohsis Halbert
Vice Speaker: Senator Paliknoa K. Welly
Floor Leader: Senator F. Singkoro Harper
The Chairperson for the seven Congressional Committees are:
1. Senator Isaac V. Figir, Committee on Ways and Means;
2. Senator David W. Panuelo, Committee on Resources and Development;
3. Senator Joseph J. Urusemal, Committee on Education;
4. Senator Wesley W. Simina, Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations;
5. Senator Yosiwo P. George, Committee on External Affairs.
6. Senator Peter M. Christian, Committee on Transportation and Communications; and
7. Senator Tony H. Otto, Committee on Health and Social Affairs.
Chief Justice of the FSM Supreme Court Martin G. Yinug administered the Oath of Office to Members of the 18th FSM Congress in front of a chamber crowed with the State and National leadership which included Governor John Ehsa of the State of Pohnpei and traditional leader - Nahnmwarki of Sokes, the Honorable Herculano Kohler.
In addition, Senior Pastor and the first Speaker of the FSM Congress, Reverend Bethwel Henry offered the invocation for the occasion.
The National Anthem was beautifully sung by the Panuelo Trio: Ms. Jenna Deena on vocals accompanied by Alex and Michael on instruments. They are the children of Senator David W. Panuelo. Those who were not in the Congress Chamber this morning were able to tune in to the local radio stations for the day’s proceedings via a live-broadcast through the FSM Telecommunications Corporation.
The First Regular Session of the 18th FSM Congress is expected to last for 20-days, unless shortened or extended by resolution. Pursuant to the FSM Constitution, a session of Congress is a two-year cycle therefore the 18th Congress will be from May 11, 2013 through May 10, 2015.
Following the formalities and run through of the Order of Business, the first session of the 18th FSM Congress recessed until Monday – May 13, 2013 at 10am in the morning.