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O le Ao o le Malo

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O le Ao o le Malo of the
Independent State of
Samoa
Incumbent
Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi

since 20 June 2007
Term length Five years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Malietoa Tanumafili II and Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole
Formation 1 January 1962
Samoa

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Samoa



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O le Ao o le Malo is the Samoan head of state, which is the title's rough translation. (A more literal translation might be "the chieftain of the government" — ao is a title generally reserved for chiefs (matai), while malo means "government").[1][2] The O le Ao o le Malo is styled as His Highness.

The position is provided for in Part III of the 1960 Samoan constitution.[3] At the time the constitution was adopted it was anticipated that future heads of state would be chosen from among the four Tama-a-Aiga "royal" paramount chiefs. However, this is not required by the constitution and for this reason Samoa can be considered a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy like the United Kingdom. The government Press Secretariat describes O le Ao o le Malo as a "ceremonial president". The current O le Ao o le Malo is Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, who was elected to a five year term on 16 June 2007.[4]

Contents

History

When Samoa became independent in 1962, the two highest[5] of the four paramount chiefs (Tama a Aiga) — Malietoa Tanumafili and Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole, were jointly named to the office by the 1960 Constitution for life. Each respectively represented the Malietoa and Tupua, which have been described as the "two main family lineages" of Samoa.[6] They were jointly known as O Ao o le Malo and severally as O le Ao o le Malo.[3] Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole died a year later in 1963, leaving Malietoa Tanumafili as the sole holder of the office until his death in 2007, aged 95.[7][8] His replacement, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi, who had served two prior terms as Prime Minister of Samoa, was elected by the Samoan Legislative Assembly, called the Fono, as the third O le Ao o le Malo, for a five year term beginning on 20 June 2007.[4] He is the elder son of Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole.

Qualifications

Article 18 of the Samoan constitution sets the qualifications for the position of O le Ao o le Malo. The O le Ao o le Malo must:

Term of office

The O le Ao o le Malo is elected by the Fono for five years and can be reelected. The exceptions to this were Malietoa Tanumafili and Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole, who were made exempt to the five year term provided for in Article 19.[3] The constitution does not set forth a limit on the number of terms an O le Ao o le Malo can serve. There is an understanding that the office is to alternate between the Malietoa and Tupua families.[6]

Removal from office can occur in four ways:

Duties and powers

The position is that of a ceremonial president, with actual power being held by the Prime Minister, whom the O le Ao o le Malo appoints on the recommendation of the Fono. While the O le Ao o le Malo "does not play an active role in government", he can dissolve the Fono and no act of parliament will become law without his approval.[9] The O le Ao o le Malo can also grant pardons.[10]

List of officeholders

# Incumbent Took Office Left Office Political Affiliation Notes
1 Malietoa Tanumafili II 1 January 1962 11 May 2007 Non-partisan Elected for Life. Served jointly with Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole to 5 April 1963. Died in office.
Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole 5 April 1963 Non-partisan Elected for Life. Served jointly with Malietoa Tanumafili II. Died in office.
Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi 11 May 2007 20 June 2007 Non-partisan Acting (members of the Council of Deputies).
Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II Non-partisan
2 Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tupuola Tufuga Efi 20 June 2007 Incumbent Non-partisan Elected for 5 years.

See also

References

  1. ^ Samoalive dictionary
  2. ^ Websters Online Dictionary
  3. ^ a b c d e "Constitution of the Independent State of Western Samoa 1960". University of the South Pacific. http://www.paclii.org/ws/legis/consol_act/cotisows1960535/. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  4. ^ a b New Zealand Herald. "New head of state for Samoa". http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10446128. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  5. ^ Hassall, Graham and Saunders, Cheryl (2002). Asia-Pacific Constitutional Systems. Cambridge University Press. p. 41. ISBN 0521591295. 
  6. ^ a b New Zealand Herald. "Name says it all for Samoa's new leader". http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10448278&pnum=0. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  7. ^ "Samoan king dies at the age of 94". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-05-13. http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Samoan-king-dies-at-the-age-of-94/2007/05/13/1178994972370.html. Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  8. ^ NZ Herald
  9. ^ Kogan Page, World of information (2003). Asia and Pacific Review 2003/04, 21st edition. Essex, England: Walden Publishing Ltd.. p. 41. ISBN 0749440635. 
  10. ^ eDiplomat.com. "Samoa". http://www.ediplomat.com/np/post_reports/pr_ws.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 

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