Constitutional amendment to set Head of States term to 10 years


Inside the temporary parliament at the Faleata Sports Complex

By Rula Su’a Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2017:  A constitutional amendment bill tabled in Parliament this morning recommends setting the term of the appointment of Head of State to a maximum of ten years or two five year terms.

In tabling the bill, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi emphasized the significance of the position and it is different from other positions such as Prime Minister and Speaker of the House.

Salega East MP, Olo Fiti Vaai took issue with the old argument the the Head of State is no longer selected from the paramount chiefs – Tama a Aiga.

Under the constitution, the appointment of the Head of State is made by Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Olo Fiti challenged the appointment saying the current Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi 11, was voted outside parliament by the ruling party caucus.

However, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi set the record straight that the appointment of the Head of State was only made by parliament after the motion was proposed by Government which is the party holing the majority in the House and became an appointment made by parliament.

The Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff also clarified that under the Constitution, the holder of the post can be anyone and not confined to Tama Aiga and this was always the case since 1961 before the Constitution was adopted upon independence the following year.

The bill is now with Bills Committee that will call for public views and submissions before it reports back to parliament and for the amendment to be passed into law.

In an interview with the Prime Minister after the appointment of the current Head of State, he told Talamua it is better for the term of appointment to be explicit in order to be fair to the incumbent and all parties when the term comes to an end.