June 20, 2015

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

July 10, 2015 Pohnpei, FSM -This morning's joint inaugural celebration was not for the purpose of swearing in new FSM leadership. That task was covered during previous sessions of Congress. This morning's inaugural festivities were a chance for FSM to celebrate itself and to formally welcome the new leadership. On May 11, 2015 the members of the FSM's 19th Congress were seated and took their oaths of office. From amongst those Constitutionally voter selected members Congress selected Senator Peter Christian of Pohnpei to be the nation's eighth president and Yosiwo George to be the nation's eighth Vice President. Congress selected Senator Wesley Simina to be the sixth Speaker of Congress.

All of the selected FSM National leaders took their oaths of office on that morning and a special election was held to fill the seats vacated by President Christian and Vice President George.

Senator David Panuelo won Pohnpei's vacated at-large seat. Former Vice President Alik Alik won Kosrae's seat. They took their oaths of office on July 7 during a special session of Congress that at press time was still in progress.

Pohnpei's two year seat for Election District three, vacated by Senator Panuelo after he won the at-large seat will be filled by the winner of yet another special

Palikir, that seat was still vacant. A number of contenders are vying for voter attention for that vacant seat. Norleen Oliver admirably served as the Master of Ceremonies for this morning's celebration. So many dignitaries were in attendance at the celebration that it took nearly 30 minutes for them all to be introduced. They came from as far away as Germany, Russia, and Israel. Micronesia heads of State were in attendance including Palau's President Remengasau, and RMI's President Loeak. The FSM National Anthem was sung by the Youth-4- Change Choir and the invocation was provided by Father Robert Ifamlik.

Welcoming remarks were given by Pohnpei's Acting Governor Marcelo Peterson. The United Church of Christ Pohnpei Kepinle Choir performed a number before President Peter M. Christian stood to give his inaugural address. Turning and joking with his staff members he held up a large notebook and claimed that he had asked them for the long version of the speech but they had provided him with the short version.

By all received accounts, President Christian's speech was well received by those citizens and most residents of the FSM in attendance. Unfortunately, some who attended the inauguration celebration could not hear the speech. It was broadcast live on Pohnpei's State Radio Station, V6AH.

The Kaselehlie Press tradition has been to publish the substantive transcripts of inaugural addresses. However, President Christian, an eloquent and entertaining speaker strayed far from the speech writers' text and information officers scrambled to type transcripts from audio recordings. At press time nearly a week later there was still no copy of the speech that could be released to the press.

After President Christian's inaugural address, the highly entertaining choir from Satowan, Chuuk performed several numbers. During their performance dignitaries of all levels starting with President Christian rose to give the group a significant amount of tips.

Reverend Bethwel Henry, FSM's Speaker of the first Congress of the FSM provided the benediction. After the ceremony was concluded, local dancers provided entertainment while a full take out lunch was served to the participants present at the celebration in Palikir.