The Government and Political System in Samoa
Samoa utilizes representative system alongside parliamentary and democratic government form. This framework of governance intertwines with the western societal structure known as the fa’amatai chiefly scheme. British Westminster governmental framework inspired the country’s prevalent political structure provided by the 1960 Constitution.
Executive power is vested on the Chief of the Sate with five-year tenure elected by the Legislative Assembly. Appointment privileges granted on the State head include the Prime Minister’s seat and the Cabinet seats. In turn, the executive body is comprised of the Chief (Head of the State) assisted by the Prime Minister (Head of government) and Cabinet members (Head of Ministries).
Legislative power is granted to the unicameral legislature with 49 members. The National Legislative Assembly is elected for five-year term consists of 47 village chiefs (elected by inter-village electors) and 2 independent representatives (elected by Eurasian electors). Village chieftains are given exclusive rights to participate in the election as majority legislative candidates.
Judicial power is awarded to the Supreme Court as the court of last resort. This judicial body is headed by the Chief Justice appointed by the national chief (recommended by the Prime Minister). Court of Appeals and Land and Titles Court which are given limited jurisdiction assist the sovereign court. Lower courts are composed of district courts. No doubt, the judiciary is patterned after the English legal system.
In 1990, local autonomy is further provided by the Village Fono Act. This enacted law empowers the creation of village councils to look after the welfare of villagers that include health, law and order, and socio-political concerns.