Debate over Samoan head of state title

Constitution amendment sparks discussion

An amendment to Samoa’s Constitution that will see the government of the day select a Head of State is genrating much debate in the island state. With one more reading remaining before it becomes law, the Opposition Party, Tautua Samoa is calling on government to stay with the status quo – a selection by all members of Parliament. “I just don’t see why government would want to amend the Constitution,” says Palusalue Faapo II, Leader of Opposition. “What the Prime Minister is introducing will see just a portion of Samoa decide the next head of state and that’s not right, the whole of Samoa should decide that”. His Highness was asked and while reserved of his response he did say that if he passed away he was more fearful of his parents than God.

“I’m afraid that when I see them they’d say, you were right there and you did nothing,” he says. “Neither the Prime Minister nor any other Minister informed me about the Amendment,” Tui Atua adds. “Not that there’s any restriction to the amendment. “ However, while the Westminster system may not have any bearing on the selection of a Head of State, this is particularly important when it comes to tradition, the faa-Samoa or the Samoan culture. Changing protocol in those who may hold the country’s top post would be of concern to the paramount chiefs of Samoa because as tradition remains strong in the community, the recognition of the Tama Aiga (paramount) families would certainly change as well.

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