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Palau has a constitutional government in free association with the United States. The Compact of Free Association was entered into with the United States on October 1, 1994, also marking Palau’s independence.

Palau has three branches of government. The President is directly-elected and serves a four year term. The President and Vice-President run on separate tickets. The Council of Chiefs, comprised of the highest traditional chiefs from each state, acts in an advisory capacity to the President on traditional laws and customs.

The legislative branch, the Olbiil Era Kelulau (Palau National Congress), consists of two chambers, the Senate and House of Delegates. All legislators serve four-year terms.

The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Land Court. The Supreme Court has trial and appellate divisions and is presided over by the Chief Justice. Judges are appointed to life terms by the President with approval from Palau’s National Congress.

Each of Palau’s 16 states also elects its own governor and legislature.