Samoa’s rightful government takes office at last

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is Samoa’s first female prime minister

8/1/2021 3:33:00 AM

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is Samoa’s first female prime minister

The incumbent prime minister concedes defeat three and a half months after losing an election | Asia

.That the saga has at last ended and the opposition has been able to form a government is no thanks to him, but to the judiciary, one of the few state institutions that he had not managed to compromise during his lengthy stint in office. In power since 1988, Mr Tuilaepa’s Human Rights Protection Party (

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HRPP) had become too accustomed to the trappings of government. So had Mr Tuilaepa himself, who had been prime minister since 1998 and claimed to have been chosen by God.His purported divine mandate inspired him to dominate vast parts of the state apparatus, as is apparent from the number of institutions affected by recent court rulings. After Mr Tuilaepa’s party lost the election in April, the electoral commissioner sought to manufacture an extra parliamentary seat for the

HRPPby arguing that the composition of Parliament failed to meet the country’s minimum 10% quota for women legislators. The attempt was declared unlawful by the Supreme Court. When the former speaker locked the doors of Parliament in May to prevent the new government from being sworn in, he too was rebuked by the court.

TheO le Ao o le Maloat first obeyed a court order to call Parliament to sit, but then revoked it for reasons he never explained. He has belatedly accepted the new government, but still maintains that the judges usurped his role in convening Parliament. The judges point out that the

O le Ao o le Maloforfeited those powers after failing to do so within 45 days after a general election, as the constitution requires.The new administration faces several immediate challenges. For a start, the prime minister needs an emergency budget to replace the potentially unlawful one passed by the caretaker administration in June. Ms Mata’afa has suggested a constitutional review to close some of the loopholes exposed by the recent political crisis. She resigned as deputy prime minister, left the

Read more: The Economist »

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