17 May 2007

Saipan seat allocation in CNMI supreme court

6:38 pm on 17 May 2007

A request to review the seats in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives and revise Saipan's election districts is now with the Supreme Court.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the Chief Justice has ordered concerned government departments to submit briefs on a petition for reapportionment and redistricting filed by Senators Maria Frica Pangelinan and Tina Sablan.

If granted before the midterm election, the petition could result in fewer seats in the House by 2008.

Saipan would have 12 representatives, rather than 16.

The pair's petition was based on a constitutional provision requiring the Legislature reapportion the House seats at least every 10 years and within 120 days after results of a decennial census are published.

The law also states that if the Legislature fails to do this, the governor should do the reapportionment.

The House seats were last re-apportioned in 1991.