Article 10: Approval, Effective Dates and Definitions
(a) This Covenant will be submitted to the Mariana Islands District Legislature for its approval. After its approval by the Mariana Islands District Legislature, this Covenant will be submitted to the people of the Northern Mariana Islands for approval in a plebiscite to be called by the United States. Only persons who are domiciled exclusively in the Northern Mariana Islands and who meet such other qualifications, including timely registration, as are promulgated by the United States as administering authority will be eligible to vote in the plebiscite. Approval must be by a majority of at least 55% of the valid votes cast in the plebiscite. The results of the plebiscite will be certified to the President of the United States.
(b) This Covenant will be approved by the United States in accordance with its constitutional processes and will thereupon become law.
The President of the United States will issue a proclamation announcing the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement, or the date on which the Trusteeship Agreement will terminate, and the establishment of the Commonwealth in accordance with this Covenant. Any determination by the President that the Trusteeship Agreement has been terminated or will be terminated on a day certain will be final and will not be subject to review by any authority, judicial or otherwise, of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands or the United States.
The provisions of this Covenant will become effective as follows, unless otherwise specifically provided:
(a) Section 105, 201-203, 503, 504, 606, 801, 903 and Article X will become effective on approval of this Covenant;
(b) Sections 102, 103, 204, 304, Article IV, Sections 501, 502, 505, 601-605, 607, Article VII, Sections 802-805, 901 and 902 will become effective on a date to be determined and proclaimed by the President of the United States which will be not more than 180 days after this Covenant and the Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands have both been approved; and
(c) The remainder of this Covenant will become effective upon the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement and the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(a) The application of any provision of the Constitution or laws of the United States which would otherwise apply to the Northern Mariana Islands may be suspended until termination of the Trusteeship Agreement if the President finds and declares that the application of such provision prior to termination would be inconsistent with the Trusteeship Agreement.
(b) The Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands will become effective in accordance with its terms on the same day that the provisions of this Covenant specified in Subsection 1003(b) become effective, provided that if the President finds and declares that the effectiveness of any provision of the Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands prior to termination of the Trusteeship Agreement would be inconsistent with the Trusteeship Agreement such provision will be ineffective until termination of the Trusteeship Agreement. Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands the Constitution will become effective in its entirety in accordance with its terms as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
As used in this Covenant:
(a) “Trusteeship Agreement” means the Trusteeship Agreement for the former Japanese Mandated Islands concluded between the Security Council of the United Nations and the United States of America, which entered into force on July 18, 1947;
(b) “Northern Mariana Islands” means the area now known as the Mariana Islands District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands which lies within the area north of 14° north latitude, south of 21° north latitude, west of 150° east longitude and east of 144° east longitude;
(c) “Government of the Northern Marianas Islands” includes, as appropriate, the Government of the Mariana Islands District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands at the time this Covenant is signed, its agencies and instrumentalities, and its successors, including the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
(d) “Territory or possession” with respect to the United States includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa;
(e) “Domicile” means that place where a person maintains a residence with the intention of continuing such residence for an unlimited or indefinite period, and to which such person has the intention of returning whenever he is absent, even for an extended period.
Signed at Saipan, Mariana Islands on the fifteenth day of February, 1975.
For the people of the Northern Mariana Islands:
Edward DLG. Pangelinan, Chairman, Marianas Political Status Commission
Vicente N. Santos, Vice Chairman, Marianas Political Status Commission
For the United States of America:
Ambassador F. Haydn Williams, Personal Representative of the President of the United States
Members of the Marianas Political Status Commission:
Juan LG. Cabrera
Vicente T. Camacho
Jose R. Cruz
Bernard V. Hofschneider
Benjamin T. Manglona
Daniel T. Muna
Dr. Francisco T. Palacios
Joaquin I. Pangelinan
Manuel A. Sablan
Joannes B. Taimanao
Pedro A. Tenorio