Prime Minister of Samoa

The prime minister of the Independent State of Samoa (Samoan: Palemia o le Malo Tuto’atasi o Sāmoa) is the head of government of Samoa. The prime minister is a member of the Legislative Assembly, and is appointed by the O le Ao o le Malo (Head of State) for a five-year term. Since independence in 1962, a total of seven individuals have served as prime minister. The incumbent was disputed due to the 2021 constitutional crisis, when Tuilaepa A. S. Malielegaoi refused to accept the results of the 2021 general election. On 23 July 2021, the Samoan Court of Appeal ruled that the Faʻatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party had been in government since 24 May.[2] Tuilaepa then conceded defeat, resulting in FAST party leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa becoming prime minister.[3]

Prime Minister of the
Independent State of
Palemia o le Malo Tuto‘atasi o Sāmoa
Coat of Arms Samoa.svg
Flag of Samoa.svg
Fiame Naomi Mataafa (portrait).jpg
Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa

since 24 May 2021[a]
Government of Samoa
Cabinet of Samoa
StylePrime Minister
The Honourable
StatusHead of Government
Member ofLegislative Assembly of Samoa
Cabinet of Samoa
NominatorPolitical parties
AppointerO le Ao o le Malo
(Head of State)
Term lengthFive years,
renewable indefinitely
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Samoa
PrecursorLeader of Government Business
Inaugural holderFiamē Matā'afa Fiame Mulinu'u II
Formation22 May 1875
(Prior to colonisation)
1 October 1959
(Shortly before independence)
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister of Samoa
Salary78,000 USD annually[1]

History of the officeEdit

Colonial periodEdit

The first prime minister during the colonial period was Albert Barnes Steinberger, who originally represented the American government in the Samoan Islands but was close to German commercial interests. After the indigenous authorities of the islands adopted the Constitution of 1873, Steinberger was appointed Prime Minister by King Malietoa Laupepa in July 1875. He held this post for seven months before the British and American consuls in the country persuaded Laupepa to dismiss him, seeing his role as German interference in the islands. Over the next two decades, there was no prime minister in the country, and in 1899 Samoa fell under the colonial rule of the Western powers, being divided as a German colony and an American colony at the end of the Second Samoan Civil War, according to the terms of the Tripartite Convention.[4]

At the beginning of the World War I, German Samoa was occupied by New Zealand in 1914, and was subsequently organized as a trust territory of New Zealand in 1920.

Post-independence periodEdit

The territory gained independence on 1 January 1962 as the Independent State of Western Samoa. The Constitution, adopted in 1960 during the transitional period of autonomy, provides that the executive power is vested in the head of state (O le Ao o le Malo), elected by the Legislative Assembly, and who acts only on the recommendation of the government. The head of state has royal assent powers to sign bills into law and dissolve Parliament. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is appointed by the head of state as a member of the Legislative Assembly who enjoys the confidence of a majority in the Legislative Assembly (Article 32 (2) (a)). The prime minister may be removed from office by the Legislative Assembly (Article 33 (1) (b)). Samoa is thus a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system.[5]

List of officeholdersEdit

Political parties
Other factions
  Denotes acting Prime Minister

† Died in office

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Samoa (1875–1876)Edit

No. Portrait Name
Election Term of office Political party Monarch
Took office Left office Time in office
1   Albert Barnes Steinberger
22 May 1875 8 February 1876 262 days Independent Laupepa
Post abolished (8 February 1876 – 1 October 1959)

Prime Ministers of the Independent State of Samoa (1959–present)Edit

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party O le Ao o le Malo
(Head(s) of state)
Took office Left office Time in office
1   Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II
1961 (1st)
1964 (2nd)
1967 (3rd)
1 October 1959 25 February 1970 10 years, 147 days Independent Meaʻole
Tanumafili II
2   Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV
1970 (4th) 25 February 1970 20 March 1973 3 years, 23 days Independent Tanumafili II
(1)   Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II
1973 (5th) 20 March 1973 20 May 1975 † 2 years, 61 days Independent Tanumafili II
  Tupua Tamasese Lealofi IV
– (5th) 21 May 1975 24 March 1976 308 days Independent Tanumafili II
3   Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi
(born 1938)
1976 (6th)
1979 (7th)
1982 (8th)
24 March 1976 13 April 1982 6 years, 20 days Independent Tanumafili II
4   Vaʻai Kolone
– (8th) 13 April 1982 18 September 1982 158 days HRPP Tanumafili II
(3)   Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi
(born 1938)
– (8th) 18 September 1982 31 December 1982 104 days Independent Tanumafili II
5   Tofilau Eti Alesana
– (8th)
1985 (9th)
31 December 1982 30 December 1985 2 years, 364 days HRPP Tanumafili II
(4)   Vaʻai Kolone
– (9th)
30 December 1985 8 April 1988 2 years, 100 days HRPP Tanumafili II
(5)   Tofilau Eti Alesana
– (10th)
8 April 1988 23 November 1998 10 years, 229 days HRPP Tanumafili II
6   Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi
(born 1945)
– (12th)
23 November 1998 24 May 2021 22 years, 182 days HRPP Tanumafili II
Tufuga Efi
Va'aletoa Sualauvi II
7   Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa
(born 1957)
2021(17th) 24 May 2021 Incumbent 64 days FAST Va'aletoa Sualauvi II


Naomi MataʻafaTuilaepa Aiono Sailele MalielegaoiTofilau Eti AlesanaVa'ai KoloneTui Atua Tupua Tamasese EfiTupua Tamasese Lealofi IVMataʻafa Faumuina Mulinuʻu II

Living former prime ministersEdit

As of July 2021 there are two former living Samoan prime ministers, as seen below.

The most recent former Samoan prime minister to die was Vaʻai Kolone (served 1982; 1985–1988), on 20 April 2001, aged 89.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Disputed: 24 May 2021 — 23 July 2021


  1. ^ Hill, Bruce (28 September 2016). "Samoan leaders salaries published by newspaper". ABC Radio Australia.
  2. ^ "Court declares F.A.S.T. Government; impasse over". Samoa Observer. 23 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Tuilaepa concedes, welcomes F.A.S.T. government". Samoa Observer. 26 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  4. ^ Malama Meleisea, Lagaga: A Short History of Western Samoa, Apia, University of the South Pacific, 1987, ISBN 982-02-0029-6, pp.83-85
  5. ^ Constitution of Samoa

External linksEdit