The Executive Arm of Government

Extracted from the Kiribati Constitution

CHAPTER IV

THE EXECUTIVE

Part I – The Beretitenti

The Office of Beretitenti

30.          (1) There shall be a president of Kiribati, who shall be known as Beretitenti.

(2) The Beretitenti shall be the Head of State and the Head of Government.

First Beretitenti

31.          (1) The first Beretitenti shall be the person who immediately before Independence Day holds the office of Chief Minster under the Constitution.

(2) The first Beretitenti shall be deemed to have assumed office at the coming into operation of this Constitution.

Election of Beretitenti

32.          (1) Nomination for and an election to the office of the Beretitenti shall be held in such manner as is prescribed by this section and, subject thereto, by or under law-

(a) as soon as practicable after the first sitting of the Maneaba ni Maungatabu following a general election and before proceeding on any Bill;

(b) in the circumstances specified in section 35 (4) of this Constitution.

(2) The Maneaba shall after the election of the Speaker nominate, from among members of the Maneaba, not less than 3 nor more than 4 candidates for election as Beretitenti and no other person may be a candidate.

(3) Every person who is entitled to vote in a general election shall be entitled to vote in an election of Beretitenti.

(4) A person elected to the office of Beretitenti under this section shall assume that office on the day upon which he is declared elected.

(5) A person may assume office as Beretitenti after election on not more than 3 occasions:

Provided that a person who assume office as Beretitenti under section 35 (2) of this Constitution may assume office as Beretitenti on not more than 2 subsequent occasions.

Tenure of office of Beretitenti

33.          (1) The Beretitenti, unless he ceases to be Beretitenti by virtue of this section or the next following section, shall continue in office until the person elected at the next election of Beretitenti after a general election assumes office.

(2) The Beretitenti shall cease to be Beretitenti-

(a) if he resigns his office, by notice in writing addressed to the Speaker;

(b) if a motion of no confidence in the Beretitenti or the Government is supported in the Maneaba ni Maungatabu by the votes of a majority of all the members of the Maneaba;

(c) if, in respect of any matter before the Maneaba, the Beretitenti notifies the Speaker that a vote on that matter raises an issue of confidence, and in a subsequent vote on that matter it is rejected by a majority of all the members of the Maneaba;

(d) if he ceases to be a member of the Maneaba otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Maneaba ; or

(e) in the circumstances specified in the next following section.

Removal of Beretitenti on grounds of incapacity

34.          (1) If the Maneaba ni Maungatabu resolves, upon a motion support by the votes of a majority of all the members thereof (other than the Beretitenti), that the question of the mental or physical capacity of the Beretitenti to discharge the functions of his office ought to be investigated, the Speaker shall notify the Chief Justice who shall appoint a Medical Board consisting of not less than 3 persons who are qualified as medical practitioners under the law of Kiribati or under the law of any other country in the Commonwealth, and the Board shall inquire into the mater and shall report to the Maneaba stating the opinion of the Board whether or not the Beretitenti is, by reason of any infirmity of body or mind, incapable of discharging the functions of his office.

(2) If the Maneaba, having received the report of the Medical Board, resolves by a majority of all the members of the Maneaba (other than the Beretitenti) that the Beretitenti is, by reason of infirmity of body or mind, incapable of discharging the functions of his office, the Beretitenti shall cease to hold office forthwith.

Vacancy in the office of Beretitenti

35.          (1) If the office of Beretitenti becomes vacant by reason of the Beretitenti ceasing to hold office by virtue of paragraph (b) or (c) of section 33 (2) of this Constitution, the Council of State shall perform the functions of Beretitenti until the person elected at the next election of Beretitenti following a general election assumes office.

(2) If the office of Beretitenti becomes vacant for any other reason, the Kauoman-ni- Beretitenti shall assume the office of Beretitenti and, if the Maneaba ni Maungatabu by resolution confirms his assumption of the office of Beretitenti, he shall continue to hold such office until he ceases to be Beretitenti under section 33 of this Constitution.

(3) A person assuming the office of Beretitenti under the preceding subsection shall, at the next following meeting of the Maneaba, propose a motion for a resolution confirming his assumption to the office of Beretitenti, and the motion shall be debated and decided at that meeting.

(4) If the assumption of the office of Beretitenti by the Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti is not confirmed by the Maneaba, an election to the office of Beretitenti shall be held before proceeding on any Bill and as soon as practicable in accordance with section 32 of this Constitution, and the person who assumed the office of Beretitenti under subsection (2) of this section shall cease to be Beretitenti (unless he ceases sooner under section 33(2) of this Constitution) when the person elected as Beretitenti at that election assumes office.

(5) If the office of Beretitenti becomes vacant during any period when the office of Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti is also vacant, the Cabinet shall elect 1 of the Ministers to assume the office of Beritenti under subsection (2) of this section, and the provisions of subsections (2), (3) and (4) of this section shall apply to that person as if he had been Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti.

Discharge of functions of Beretitenti during absence, illness, etc.

36.          (1) Whenever the Beretitenti is absent or considers it desirable so to do by reason of illness or accident he may, by directions in writing, authorise the Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti to discharge such of the functions of the office of Beretirenti as he may specify and the Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti shall discharge those functions until his authority is revoked by the Beretitenti.

(2) If the Beretitenti is incapable by reason of illness or accident of discharging the functions of his office and the infirmity is of such a nature that the Beretitenti is unable to authorize another person under this section to discharge those functions, the Kauoman-ni- Beretitenti shall discharge the functions of the office of Beretitenti.

(3) Any person discharging the functions of the office of Beretitenti by virtue of the preceding subsection shall cease to discharge those functions if he is notified by the Beretitenti that the Beretitenti is about to resume those functions.

(4) It shall be a condition precedent to the discharge by the Kauoman-ni-Beretitenti of the functions of the office of Beretitenti by virtue of subsection (2) of this section that the Secretary to the Cabinet shall have a certificate of a medical practitioner registered under the law of Kiribati that the Beretitenti is incapable by reason of illness or accident of discharging the functions of his office, and at the first Cabinet meeting summoned thereafter the certificate shall be presented to the Cabinet:

Provided that any such certificate shall cease to have effect if the Beretitenti notifies any person under the preceding subsection that he is about to resume the functions of the office of Beretitenti.

Oath of Beretitenti

37. A person assuming the office of Beretitenti shall, before entering upon the duties of that office, take and subscribe before the Chief Justice an oath in the form set out in Schedule 1 to this Constitution.

Conduct of elections of Beretitenti

38.          (1) The Chief Justice shall have superintendence over elections to the office of Beretitenti, which elections shall be conducted by the Electoral Commission.

(2) Any question which may arise as to whether-

(a) any provision of this Constitution or any law relating to the election of a Beretitenti under section 32 of this Constitution has been complied with; or

(b) any person has been validly elected under that section, shall be referred to and determined by the Chief Justice whose decision shall not be questioned in any court.

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