Kiribati Political System

According to, with capital city of Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati is a country located in Micronesia with total population of 119,460.

State and politics


According to the 1979 Constitution, Kiribati is an independent state within the Commonwealth. The head of state and government is the president, who himself appoints the ministers in the government and is elected in general elections every four years since the MPs nominate three to four candidates among themselves. The President is allowed to sit for a maximum of three terms of office each of four years. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how KI can stand for Kiribati.

Parliament has 44 elected members with a term of office of four years. In addition, the Chancellor of Justice and an appointed representative for the runways. After several decades of British phosphate mining on the coral island of Banaba, this became uninhabitable and its residents were evacuated to Fiji. The Constitution states that the Banabans (now Fijian citizens) have the right to return to Banaba and to regain their land. There are no real political parties. The MPs are either independent or form part of loosely composed groups. After the 2016 election, three of the members (7 percent) were women.


Ieremia Tabai (born 1950), former prime minister, became Kiribati’s first president and ruled the country from independence until 1991, when, according to the constitution, he had to hand over the presidential post. Teatao Teannaki was elected new president (1939–2016). After the 1994 vote of no confidence in the wake of allegations of financial irregularities, the government resigned, and in the subsequent presidential election Teburoro Tito (born 1953) prevailed. He also won the two subsequent presidential elections. After a new mistrust of 2003, the incumbent government was toppled, and in presidential elections that year, Anote Tong (born 1952) was elected president. Tong was re-elected President in 2007 and 2012.

President since 2016 is Taneti Maamau (born 1960), who received 60 percent of the vote in this year’s election.


The legal system in Kiribati is based mainly on imported English law with elements of local customary law. On each inhabited island there is a court, magistrates’ court, while the Court of Appeal has its seat in the capital. The death penalty was abolished in connection with the country’s independence in 1979.

Heads of State


1979-91 Jeremiah Tabai
1991-94 Teatao Teannaki
1994-2003 Teburoro Tito
2003-16 Anote Tongue
2016- Taneti Maamau