Thursday, June 30, 2022

Naomi Mata’afa en route to Samoan premiership

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Monday, 17 May 2021, Apia, Independent State of Samoa: Chiefess Fiame Naomi Mataafa is poised to become Samoa’s first female prime minister, after the Pacific nation’s Supreme Court helped break a month-long political impasse that followed a tightly contested election held in April.

Samoa’s top court on overruled an attempt by the O le Ao o le Malo of Samoa (Head of State), His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II to calls for new polls in order to break the impasse. 

The top court also rejected the post-election creation of an additional parliamentary seat that briefly gave the incumbent government a majority.

The court decisions clear the path for Mataafa’s FAST party to form a government, ending the rule of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who has fought to hold onto power after governing for 22 years.

Samoa gained independence in 1962 after nearly 50 years as a New Zealand protectorate.

Matai (Chiefess) Fiame Naomi Mata’afa hails from one of the four paramount chieftainly houses in Samoa. Her father, the late Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II served as Samoa’s very first prime minister in 1959. Naomi Mata’afa herself is a woman of firsts. She was Samoa’s first female cabinet member in 1991 when appointed Minister of Education. She subsequently served in the capacity of Minister of Women, Community & Social Development, and later as Minister of Justice. She was Samoa’s first female Deputy Prime Minister between 2016 and 2020. 

The Pacific nation shut its borders early in the coronavirus pandemic and has any avoided widespread community transmission of COVID-19 infections.

For further information 

Prime Minister’s Office: https://www.samoagovt.ws/directories/prime-minister/

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