PoliticsMain article: Politics of the Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands have a presidential representative democratic system, in which the governor is head of government, with a multi-party system. The Northern Mariana Islands are a commonwealth of the United States. Federal funds to the Commonwealth are administered by the Office of Insular Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Repeating the separation of powers in other U.S. territories and state governments, executive power is exercised by the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches.
Some critics, including the author of the political website Saipan Sucks say that politics in the Northern Mariana Islands is often "more a function of family relationships and personal loyalties" where the size of one's extended family is more important than a candidate's personal qualifications. They charge that this is nepotism carried out within the trappings of democracy.
In April 2012, the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The retirement fund is a defined benefit type pension plan and was only partially funded by the government, with only $268.4 million in assets and $911 million in liabilities. The plan experienced low investment returns and a benefit structure that had been increased without raises in funding.
In August 2012, cries for impeachment arose, as the sitting governor, Benigno Fitial, Republican, was being held responsible for not paying withheld payments into the retirement fund, not paying the local utility (Commonwealth Utilities or "CUC") for government offices, cutting off funding to the only hospital in the Northern Marianas, interfering with the delivery of a subpeona of to his attorney general, withholding required funds from the Public Schools, and for signing sole source $190 million contract for power generation.Further information: Political party strength in the Northern Mariana Islands
Read more about this topic: Northern Mariana Islands
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