Officially: Malo Sa’oloto Tuto’atasi o Sāmoa.
Seat of government: Apia.
Status: Semi-democratic.
Structure: Parliament (Fono or Legislative Assembly) is mostly elected in traditional geographical constituencies, in which only hereditary matai are eligible to stand; two members are elected at large by descendants of immigrants. The Fono chooses the prime minister.
Governing party: Human Rights Protection Party (since 1982).
Head of government: Sailele Malielegoai Tuila’epa (since 1998).
Chief opposition party: Tautua Samoa Party.
Assessment: Democratic forms superimposed on an aristocratic base, the traditional fa’amatai. In a 2001 election, the HRPP won only a plurality, but secured a majority when every elected independent joined the party. A similar procedure took place in 2006, though the HRPP plurality was larger to begin with. The TSP formed among sitting MPs in 2008; on two occasions, the government attempted to undermine the party formation on technicalities inconsistent with the HRPP’s usual post-election expansions. The HRPP won an outright majority in 2011, with TSP far behind.
FH: 2-2, free.
Updated: 2015 April 25.