Legislative Assembly of Samoa

The Legislative Assembly (Samoan: Fono Aoao Faitulafono a Samoa), also known as the Parliament of Samoa (Samoan: Palemene o Samoa), is the national legislature of Samoa, seated at Apia, where the country's central administration is situated. Samoan Parliament is composed of two parts: the O le Ao o le Malo (head of state) and the Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Assembly of Samoa

Fono Aoao Faitulafono o Samoa
17th Parliament
Coat of arms of Samoa.svg
Type
Type
History
Founded1 January 1962 (1962-01-01)
Leadership
Deputy Speaker
Auapaau Mulipola Aloitafua, FAST
since 24 May 2021
Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa, FAST
since 24 May 2021
Deputy Prime Minister
Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, FAST
since 24 May 2021
Structure
Seats54
Parliament of Samoa.svg
Political groups
Government (32)
  •   FAST (32)

Opposition (22)

Length of term
Up to 5 years
Elections
First-past-the-post
Last election
9 April 2021
Next election
On or before April 2026
Meeting place
Julie Bishop Samoan MPs 2018.jpg
Maota, Tiafau, Apia[2]
Website
www.palemene.ws

In the Samoan language, the Legislative Assembly of Samoa is sometimes referred to as the Samoan Fono while the government of the country is referred to as the Malo. The word fono is a Samoan and Polynesian term for councils or meetings great and small and applies to national assemblies and legislatures, as well as local village councils.

The modern government of Samoa exists on a national level alongside the country's fa'amatai indigenous chiefly system of governance and social organisation.[3] In his or her own right, the O le Ao o le Malo can summon and call together the Legislative Assembly, and can prorogue or dissolve Parliament, in order to either end a parliamentary session or call a general election on behalf of the Prime Minister of Samoa.

HistoryEdit

 
Members of the First Legislative Assembly of Samoa under New Zealand administration, circa 1921.

The Samoan Fono is descended from the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly established under New Zealand rule in the early 1900s. On the country's political independence in 1962, the 5th Legislative Assembly became the 1st Western Samoan Parliament.[4]

Powers and proceduresEdit

The Samoan Constitution provides the Legislative Assembly to make laws for the whole or any part of Samoa and laws having effect outside as well as within Samoa. Any Member of Parliament may introduce any bill or propose any motion for debate in the Assembly or present any petition to the Assembly, and the same shall be considered and disposed of under the provisions of the Standing Orders.

Members of Parliament possess parliamentary privilege and immunities.

The Legislative Assembly can be dissolved or prorogue by the O le Ao o le Malo, with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Members of ParliamentEdit

Prior to a 2019 constitutional amendment, the Samoan Fono had 49 Members of Parliament. These were elected in six two-seat and 35 single-seat constituencies. Of these 49 seats, 47 were legally reserved for traditional heads of families (matai) and two for special constituencies: These two seats were first reserved for Samoan citizens descended from non-Samoans (so-called 'individual constituencies') and elected on a non-territorial basis until the 2015 constitutional amendment after which these were replaced with specific 'urban constituencies'.[5] These 'urban constituencies' were only in place for the 2016 general election and were then abolished by the 2019 amendment ahead of the next general election. Following this amendment, each electoral constituency elects one member, totalling 51 members of parliament.[6][7]

An extra Member of Parliament was added after the 2016 election in order to meet the quota of 10% female MPs.[8]

Members of Parliament in Samoa are directly elected by universal suffrage, and serve a five-year term.

Current compositionEdit

The Fa‘atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) government currently occupies 30 seats in the Legislative Assembly, whilst the Human Rights Protection party (HRPP) have 20.[9] The HRPP originally won 25 seats at the 2021 election, but lost seven due to electoral petitions.[10] The seven vacancies resulted in by-elections.[11] Following these elections, FAST won five out of the seven constituencies up for election, increasing their parliamentary seat count from 26 to 31. The HRPP could only retain two seats but gained another two when female candidates who lost their respective races but attained the highest percentage nationwide amongst losing candidates were declared elected in order to fulfil parliament's female quota. Therefore increasing the total amount of seats to 53.[12][13] The speaker of the Legislative Assembly announced on 10 December that the two MPs declared elected via the female parliamentary membership quota would not be sworn in until the Supreme Court finalises legal challenges on the matter.[14] Seven of the new MPs were sworn in on 14 December 2021.[15] Another vacancy occurred with the death of FAST MP Va'ele Pa'ia'aua Iona Sekuini on 25 March 2022, reducing the caucus' seat total to 30.[16] Three additional female members were sworn in on 17 May 2022, two from the HRPP and one from FAST.[17] FAST gained a seat following the victory Fo'isala Lilo Tu'u Ioane in a by-election.[18]

 
Affiliation Leader in Parliament Status Seats
2021 election Current
Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa Majority 25 32[a]
Human Rights Protection Party Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi Opposition 25 22[b]
Independent Crossbench 1 0
Total 51 54

Head of StateEdit

The ceremonial Head of State or O le Ao o le Malo is elected for a five-year term by the Fono. He or she is limited to a maximum of 2 terms.

ElectionsEdit

Elections are held under a simple plurality system. Samoan electors are divided into 51 single member constituencies. Electors must be Samoan citizens and aged over 21.[19] Candidates must be qualified as electors, and are required hold a matai title.[20]

Last election resultsEdit

 
PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Human Rights Protection Party49,23755.3825–10
Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi32,51036.5725New
Tautua Samoa Party2,9003.260–2
Samoa First Party2070.230New
Sovereign Independent Samoa Party300.030New
Independents4,0254.531–12
Total88,909100.0051+1
Valid votes88,90999.32
Invalid/blank votes6050.68
Total votes89,514100.00
Registered voters/turnout128,84869.47
Source: Government of Samoa, Seat counts, Registered voters;
Candidate affiliations of all except Vaa o Fonoti,
Anoamaa 1 and Aleipata Itupa i Luga

Terms of parliamentEdit

The Legislative Assembly is currently in its 17th session, its convention did not occur until several months after the 2021 Samoan general election was held, due to the 2021 Samoan constitutional crisis. The 17th parliament convened for the first time on 14 September 2021.[21]

Term Elected in Government
1st Legislative Assembly 1948 election United Citizens Party
2nd Legislative Assembly 1951 election No parties
3rd Legislative Assembly 1954 election
4th Legislative Assembly 1957 election
5th Legislative Assembly / 1st Parliament 1961 election
2nd Parliament 1964 election
3rd Parliament 1967 election
4th Parliament 1970 election
5th Parliament 1973 election
6th Parliament 1976 election
7th Parliament 1979 election
8th Parliament 1982 election Human Rights Protection Party
9th Parliament 1985 election Human Rights Protection Party / Christian Democratic Party
10th Parliament 1988 election Human Rights Protection Party
11th Parliament 1991 election
12th Parliament 1996 election
13th Parliament 2001 election
14th Parliament 2006 election
15th Parliament 2011 election
16th Parliament 2016 election
17th Parliament 2021 election Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi

BuildingEdit

The Fono is housed in a beehive shaped building based on the traditional Samoan fale.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Includes 1 additional female member declared elected to fulfil parliament’s 10% female quota
  2. ^ Includes 2 additional female members declared elected to fulfil parliament’s 10% female quota

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Tuilaepa accepts defeat, opposition leadership". Samoa Observer. 27 July 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Legislative Assembly of Samoa" (PDF). Office of the Clerk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ Fana'afi Le Tagaloa, Aiono (1986). Western Samoa the Sacred Covenant. Land rights of Pacific women. University of the South Pacific;Institute of Pacific Studies. p. 103. ISBN 982-02-0012-1. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  4. ^ Parliament of Samoa: general information Archived 24 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Constitution Amendment 2015 (English)" (PDF). Parliament of Samoa. 3 June 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Constitution Amendment Act (No. 3)" (PDF). Parliament of Samoa. 31 January 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Samoa to bring about changes to parliament". RNZ. 30 January 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Fa'aulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers secures 5th Parliamentary seat for women". Talamua Online. 11 March 2016. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  9. ^ "LISI O SUI USUFONO O LE PALEMENE LONA XVII MA ITUMALO PALOTA 17 SETEMA 2021" (PDF). Retrieved 22 October 2021 – via www.samoagovt.ws.
  10. ^ Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong (17 August 2021). "Loau stays in office". Samoa Observer. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Special booths for upcoming by-elections". Samoa Observer. 6 October 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Aliimalemanu and Faagasealii Elected 5th and 6th Women in Parliament". Samoa Global News. 30 November 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Two more women MPs appointed make up six in the House". Talamua Online. 29 November 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Speaker defers swearing-in of two women M.P.s". Samoa Observer. 10 December 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  15. ^ Lagi Keresoma (14 December 2021). "Speaker swears in seven new Members of Parliament". Talamua Online. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  16. ^ Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong (25 March 2022). "Associate Minister of Agriculture passes away". Samoa Observer. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  17. ^ "New era for women's representation in Samoa". RNZ. 17 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  18. ^ Mika, Talaia (21 June 2022). "FAST Party welcomes Gagaifomauga No 2 Member of Parliament". Talamua Online. Apia. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  19. ^ Electoral Act 1963, s16 Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Electoral Act 1963, s5 Archived 2 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Parliament to meet on 14 September: Fiame". Samoa Observer. 1 September 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2021.

External linksEdit