Tuimalealiifano reappointed as Samoa Head of State

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Samoa’s Legislative Assembly this morning reappointed Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II as the Head of State for a second term of five years.

The announcement came from the Speaker of the House, Papalii Lio Masipau informing Parliament of the notice from the Government to support the re-election of Tuimalealiifano.

Tuimalealiifano had his first term in office extended in late July this year pending the next sitting of the House.

He took his oath of office on 21 July 2017 for five years and has been the holder of Samoa’s prestigious title of Tuimalealiifano since 1977.

Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa spoke about the position of the Head of State and the requirement under the Constitution.

The 1960 Constitution named Tupua Tamasese Meaole and Malietoa Tanumafili II as the joint holder of the Head of State position for life.

Mata’afa said sadly Tupua died a year later after his appointment, leaving Malietoa as the sole holder of the position until his death in 2007.

She told the Parliament after the joint holder of the position, the Constitution requires the Legislative Assembly to appoint the next holder in the manner that Tuimalealiifano’s reappointment was done.

In addition, she said another condition of those that come after the joint holder of the Head of State is that their term in office is not for life but will be limited to a five-year term.

Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi was later appointed for two terms of five years after the death of Malietoa in 2007. Tuimalealiifano was subsequently appointed upon the completion of two terms of Tui Atua.

Mata’afa reminded of amendments in 2019 on the five years’ tenure in office that restricted the reappointment to one term, a maximum of ten years’ service.
Another amendment in 2019 was the replacement of the official address for the Head of State as Highness replaced by Afioga ile Ao ole Malo and her Highness the Masiofo with the spouse (faletua) of the Head of State.

In terms of the qualification of those that are eligible to be the Head of State, the requirement is similar to that needed for a Member of Parliament.

The Prime Minister reflected on those appointed in the past and current holder of the position are Tama Aiga.

“What is the message for us this morning,” she said. “There is still strong perception from the country through the Members of Parliament to give respect to Tama Aiga.

“Although the Constitution says the qualification of a Head of State is the same as the Member of Parliament but what we have witnessed through the appointment is the Tama Aiga is given precedence for the position.”

The Speaker of the House read out the motion on the reappointment of Tuimalealiifano and all representatives voted in support of the move.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS