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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Feb. 6) – The debate over the need for a Constitutional Convention in the Marshall Islands continues.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands Constitution requires the Nitijela - the national parliament - to report on the advisability of a Constitutional Convention every ten years. The bill to enact a constitutional convention requires two-thirds of the total membership, or 33 members of the Nitijela.

Since the legislation was first introduced in 2004, it has been set aside twice.

Thirty amendments are being considered.

Recently, administration officials have renewed efforts to inform constituents and call for a convention. In January 2006, Ailuk Senator Maynard Alfred and Mejit Island Senator Helkena Anni made a trip to the U.S. for this purpose.

Although there are thousands of Marshallese residing in the Western States, attempts to contact Republic of the Marshall Islands citizens appeared weak, with limited attendance at the meetings.

According to sources, there were two meetings in Arizona, and only one in San Diego, California, before the Senators flew northwest. The meeting with the Oregon Marshallese Community in Salem was two-fold - dedication of new officers and the session with the two members of the J&GR committee.

The Ailin Kin Ad opposition party has criticized the traveling and the push for a Con-Con during a time when the economy needs repair.

"The Con Con is not an urgent matter; it could be deferred to a later date," said the Ailin Kin Ad.

February 7, 2006


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