A New Political Era Dawns in Samoa

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, then Samoa’s deputy prime minister, in Oslo, Norway, Oct. 23, 2019 (flickr photo by Werner Juvik for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo).
Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, then Samoa’s deputy prime minister, in Oslo, Norway, Oct. 23, 2019 (flickr photo by Werner Juvik for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo).
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After an unprecedented political crisis, Samoa finally has a functioning government, headed by the first female leader in the small Polynesian island nation’s history. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa had been scheduled to take office as prime minister months ago, but her predecessor, Tuila’epa Malielegaoi, tried desperately to cling to power. In the end, Samoa’s institutions held fast, making it a notable bright spot in a global landscape of democratic decline.  The country’s general election on April 9 was peaceful and orderly, but closely contested. Official results showed a tie, with Tuila’epa’s HRPP party and Fiame’s FAST party each taking 25 seats in […]

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