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Samoa Government Profile 2017

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Country nameconventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form: Samoa
local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
local short form: Samoa
former: Western Samoa
etymology: the name "Samoa" is composed of two parts, "sa" meaning sacred and "moa" meaning center, so the name can mean Holy Center; alternatively, it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology
Government typeparliamentary republic
Capitalname: Apia
geographic coordinates: 13 49 S, 171 46 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April
Administrative divisions11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano
Independence1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)
National holidayIndependence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship, but it is observed in June
Constitutionseveral previous (preindependence); latest 1 January 1962; amended several times, last in 2015 (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Samoa
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: TUI ATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007); note - TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi II is scheduled to be sworn in on 25 July 2017
head of government: Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FONOTOE Pierre Lauofo (since 2011)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
elections/appointments: chief of state indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 4 July 2017 (next to be held in 2022); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state, approved by the Legislative Assembly
election results: TUIMALEALI'IFANO Va’aletoa Sualauvi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats; 47 members - traditional family chiefs or matai and 2 members - part-Samoan or non-Samoan - directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: election last held on 4 March 2016 (next election to be held no later than March 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 44, Tautua Samoa 3, independents 2
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 2 Supreme Court judges and meets once or twice a year); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the head of state upon the advice of the prime minister; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body chaired by the chief justice and includes the attorney general and an appointee of the Minister of Justice; judges normally appointed until retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: District Court; Magistrates' Courts; Land and Titles Courts; village fono or village chief councils
Political parties and leadersHuman Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]
Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]
Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toalepaiali'i Toesulusulu S'iueva POSE II]
Tautua Samoa [Leatinu'u Salole LESA]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA (since 4 December 2003)
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196 through 6197
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
consulate(s) general: Pago Pago (American Samoa)
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: the US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa; ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Angelina M. WILKINSON (since January 2017)
embassy: Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
telephone: [685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX: [685] 22030
Flag descriptionred with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation; red stands for courage, blue represents freedom, and white signifies purity
note: similar to the flag of Taiwan
National symbol(s)Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars); national colors: red, white, blue
National anthemname: "O le Fu'a o le Sa'olotoga o Samoa" (The Banner of Freedom)
lyrics/music: Sauni Liga KURESA
note: adopted 1962; also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017