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History of the Parliament

Colonial Years: Paving the road to self-government and foundations of the Parliament of Samoa

German Administration and the TAIMUA and Samoan FAIPULE:

Under the 1873 Constitution, the Taimua was a meeting between Representatives of Samoa’ seven major political divisions. Each of the Taimua consisted of forty (40) Faipule whom were Matai only, additionally election and membership of Taimua were exclusively for Matai only. It was known as the Upper House of Parliament having both lawmaking and exectuive powers however, under the German Administration, their main function was to serve as an advisory role and representation of the Tafaifa (Malietoa, Mata’afa, Tamasese and Tuimaleali’ifano families). During the years of opposition against the Solf Administration, the Taimua and Samoan Faipule were both dismissed and discontinued in 1905 and a new Fono a Faipule was established as a replacement consisting of twenty seven (27) members selected by the Governor.

New Zealand Administration 1920-1948:

Legislative Council and Fono a Faipule

The Legislative Council was created on 1st of May 1920, constituted under the Constitutional Order 1920 which consisted of the Administrator of Samoa, four official Members of the Samoa Public Service and four unofficial members selected by the Governor General of New Zealand. The first Fono a Faipule was established by the Samoa Amendment Act 1923, while is was statutorily recognised and enabled Samoan representations, selection of Members were made by the Administrator alone. The main role of the Fono a Faipule was to examine matters that relate to the affairs and welfare of Samoa and Samoans alone and make recommendations to the Administrator. In 1939, the Fono a Faipule was reconstructed under the Faipule Election Ordinance 1939, now consisting of forty one (41) representatives being Matais from each traditional constituencies elected by Matai and appointed by the Administrator. With this, the Fono a Faipule was known as the Upper House and Legislative Council being the Lower House both headed by the Administrator of Samoa.

United Nations System of Trusteeship and Abolition of Legislative Council

When the New Zealand Administration placed Samoa under the Trusteeship System, the aim was to prepare Samoa for self-government and independence. In 1946, a Fono consisting of all Samoans notified a Petition that Samoa gain immediate indepence and New Zeland acts as protector, to this the New Zealand Administration called for a Special Mission by UN Trusteeship Council. As a result, this mission, the Samoan Amendment Act 1947 was enactedwhich established a Council of State which consisted of the Fautua, Fono a Faipule and Legislative Assembly (replacing the abolished Legislative Council) which members included Council of State, eleven (11) Samoan members, five (5) European Members and six (6) offical members. The functions of the Assembly was to enact laws and handle national finances.

Constitutional Conventions of 1954 and 1960

On the 10th of November 1954, the High Commissioner of New Zealand called a Constitutional Convention to meet at Mulinu’u under the guidance of the United Nations. The main aim of the 1954 Constitutional Convention was to hand over the oppourtunity to the people of Samoa to decide on they would be governed and a form of self-governing authority for the future.

A Constitutional Convention Ordinance 1960 required a draft of the Constitution of Samoa by the selected Committee and be presented in a Constitutional Convention. The Convention met at Mulinu’u between the months of August and October on 1960 to deliberate on the draft and to create the main provisions for the Constitution of Samoa. As a result, the Constitution of the Independent State of Samoa was adopted and became the superior law of the state. The Constitution also laid out the foundation and functions of the Parliament of Samoa by establishing it as the law making authority of the country enacting and creating laws.

Post-Colonial Period: 1962 Independence and the First Parliament of Samoa

On Monday 1st of January 1962, the first ever Parliament of Samoa convened at the sacred place of Tiafau in its own built Maota Fono (Parliament House) where the celebrations of the Indepence of Samoa and the Opening of the first Parliament of Samoa were held. Those present were the joint Head of States, le Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II and le Afioga Tupua Tamasese Meaole; the first Prime Minister of Samoa, Afioga Fiame Mataafa Mulinuu II; Speaker of the House, Deputy Speaker and Members of Parliament. The first Parliament then reconvened on 29th of March to 19th of April 1962 beginning the practice of Parliament sittings and reconvening to consider and deliberate on matters and affairs of Samoa.

Election of Members of Parliament

After Samoa gained independence in 1962, the elections of Members of Parliament were selected by the votes of indigenous voters, exclusively matai only, and individual voters whom were European and non-indigenous. The Universal Suffrage Act of 1990 pushed for Universal Suffrage to allow adults ages 21 and above to vote, subsequently a Plebiscite was put forth for people to vote whether they agree or disagree with universal suffrage. As a result, the Act was deliberated in Parliament with 24 Members voting in favour and 18 against, thus on 11 December 1990, all adults ages 21 and above were authoried by law to cast their votes for a Member of Parliament of their choice.

List of Head of States, Prime Ministers, and Speakers of the House 1962-present

Head of State

According to Article 17 of Constitution of Samoa (repealed in 2007 after the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II) Afioga Tupua Tamasese Meaole and Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II assumed the role as joint Head of State. After the death of Tupua Tamasese Meaole in 1963, Malietoa held the position (pursuant to Article 17(2)) until his death in 2007. Currently, a person can only hold position for two terms of five years each if re-elected by the Assembly. Below is a list of O le Ao o le Malo since 1962.

1. Afioga Tupua Tamasese Meaole [1962-1963]

2. Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II [1962-2007]

3. Afioga Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi [2007-2017]

4. Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II [2017-present]

Prime Ministers

1. Hon Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II [Jan 1962 - Feb 1970], [Feb 1973-April 1975].

2. Hon Tupua Tamasese Lealofi A’ana IV [Feb 1970 - Feb 1973], [Apr 1975 - Feb 1976]

3. Hon Tupuola Efi [Feb 1976-Feb 1982], [Aug 1982 - Dec1982]

4. Hon Vaai Kolone [Feb 1982-Aug 1982], [Dec 1985 - Feb 1988]

5. Hon Tofilau Eti Alesana [Dec 1982 - Dec 1985], [Apr 1988 – Nov 1988]

6. Hon Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Aiono Neioti Sailele Malielegaoi [Nov 1998 – 2021]

7. Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa [2021-present]; Afioga Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa, the daughter of the first Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinuu II, became the first ever female Prime Minister of Samoa since Samoa gained Independence in 1962, after her party, Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa Ua Tasi Party, won the majority of votes in the 2021 General Elections.

Speakers of the Legislative Assembly

1. Luafatasaga Kalapu [1957-1960]

2. Amoa Tausilia [1964-1966]

3. Magele Ate [1967-1969], [1970-1972]

4. Toleafoa Talitimu [1973-1975]

5. Leota Leuluaialii Ituau Ale [1976-1978]

6. Tuuu Faletoese [1979-1981]

7. Nonumalo Leulumoega Sofara [1982-1984], [1985-1987]

8. Aeau Peniamina [1988-1991]

9. Afamasaga Fatu Vaili [1991-1995]

10. Toleafoa Faafisi [1996-2000], [2001-2006]

11. Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua [2006-2010]

12. Laauli Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt [2011-2016]

13. Leaupepe Toleafoa Taimaaiono Apulu Faafisi [2016-2021]

14. Papalii Lio Oloipola Taeu Masipau [2021-present