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Head of States future rests on parliament this morning


Samoa’s parliament in session

By Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 05 JULY 2017: Whether the Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi continues in the role for the next five years depends on Parliament this morning.

Reports after a ruling party caucus last night tend to favour a new candidate.

The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi downplayed the reports and told reporters last night to await an announcement in parliament at 0930 this morning as there is a legal process to be followed.

“If it is Tupua, then he will be in the role 15 years,” said Tuilaepa.

If it’s a new appointment, then a swearing in ceremony will be held tomorrow, according to the Prime Minister.

Given the governments dominance in parliament, the selection will be academic for whoever caucus supports.

Tuilaepa also told reporters that all members of the Council of Deputies are eligible as candidates.

Most senior of the Council members is paramount chief Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Suālauvī. Former Cabinet Ministers Le Mamea Ropati Mualia and Tuiloma Pule Lameko are in their first terms in office.

The ruling Human Rights Protection Party has been consolidating the role of Head of State to be open to a candidate the party with the majority in parliament nominates. In the spirit of the Constitution as well, future holders of the office do not have to be holders of the paramount chiefly titles – Tama Aiga.

When Samoa became independent in 1962, the role was held jointly by the Heads of State and paramount chiefs Malietoa Tanumafili 11 and Tupua Tamasese Meaole.

In 1963, Tupua Tamasese Meaole passed away and Malietoa was Head of State for 45 years until his passing in May 2007.

Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi was appointed as Head of State in 2008 despite being a harsh critic of the Human Rights Protection Party and its successive governments.