The State Constitutional

Convention Clearinghouse

U.S. states where the people can use a periodic state constitutional convention referendum
to bypass the legislature's gatekeeping power over constitutional amendment

Federated States of Micronesia

Note: of the three Pacific island countries with PCCR, Micronesia is my favorite because it has the process most independent of the legislature. On the other hand, I dislike its 3/4 supermajority requirement. Other countries have the popular initiative to call a convention, which mitigates legislative control. Not clear with any of these countries how much legislators dominate a convention. The last one in the Marshall Islands may have been composed mostly by legislators.

Primary Sources

Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia, 4th Constitutional Convention of the Federated States of Micronesia.



Section 1.  An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed by a constitutional convention, popular initiative, or Congress in a manner provided by law.  A proposed amendment shall become a part of the Constitution when approved by 3/4 of the votes cast on that amendment in each of 3/4 of the states.  If conflicting constitutional amendments submitted to the voters at the same election are approved, the amendment receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.

Section 2.  At least every 10 years, Congress shall submit to the voters the question:  “Shall there be a convention to revise or amend the Constitution?”.  If a majority of ballots cast upon the question is in the affirmative, delegates to the convention shall be chosen no later than the next regular election, unless Congress provides for the selection of delegates earlier at a special election.

History of Constitutional Conventions, 4th Constitutional Convention of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Amending the FSM Constitution

The political leaders of Micronesia recognized from the beginning that the people of Micronesia had a right to adopt their own Constitution and to amend or change that Constitution.  The Delegates to the 1975 Constitution knew that there would be social, economic, and political changes that would require amending the Constitution and provided for an orderly and legitimate process for making those amendments so that the FSM could adjust to changing times and circumstances.

Article XIV of the FSM Constitution provides three ways to amend the Constitution: 1. A constitutional convention; 2. By popular initiative; and 3. By Congress as provided by law.

Throughout the world and here in Micronesia, a constitutional convention is the most common method used to amend a constitution.  A constitutional convention provides for popular control of the constitution making process, because the people elect the delegates to the convention and the delegates are responsible and responsive to the people who elected them.

The FSM Constitution requires that “At least every 10 years, Congress shall submit to the voters the question: ‘Shall there be a convention to revise or amend the Constitution?’”  If a majority of the voters vote “yes”, then a constitutional convention is held.  The people of the FSM have the right to choose to hold a constitutional convention.  And, the people of the FSM have the right to vote on the proposed amendments to the constitution during a referendum.

This power of the people to control the constitutional amendment process reflects the first of the Four Principles of the Legal Rights of the Micronesian People – “that sovereignty resides in the people of Micronesia.”

The Delegates to the 1975 Constitutional Convention believed that it was important to protect and secure “[t]he right of future generations of Micronesian citizens to revise, reform, and change the Constitution.”

Secondary Sources

Petersen, Glenn, The Federated States of Micronesia’s 1990 Constitutional Convention: Calm before the Storm?, The Contemporary Pacific, Vol. 6, No. 2 (FALL 1994)

Puas, Gonzaga, Re-evaluating Democracy in the Federated States of Micronesia through the 4th Constitutional Convention, ConstitutionNet, Dec. 21, 2021.