Browse the listing below to find government information for Samoa, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Samoa at its
Samoa Country Page.
Type: Mix of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.
Independence (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship): January 1, 1962.
Constitution: January 1, 1962.
Branches: Executive--head of state (incumbent serves for life; successors will be elected), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative--unicameral parliament (Fono). Judicial--Supreme Court and supporting hierarchy.
Major political parties: Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), Samoan National Development Party (SNDP).
Government of Samoa
The 1960 Constitution, which formally came into force with independence, is based on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. Samoa's two high chiefs at the time of independence were given lifetime appointments to jointly hold the office of head of state. Malietoa Tanumafili II has held this post alone since the death of his colleague in 1963. His eventual successor will be selected by the legislature for a 5-year term.
The unicameral legislature (Fono) contains 49 members serving 5-year terms. Forty-seven are elected from territorial districts by ethnic Samoans districts; the other two are chosen by non-Samoans on separate electoral rolls. Universal suffrage was extended in 1990, but only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Samoan seats. There are more than 25,000 matais in the country, about 5% of whom are women. The prime minister is chosen by a majority in the Fono and is appointed by the chief of state to form a government. The prime minister's choices for the 12 cabinet positions are appointed by the chief of state, subject to the continuing confidence of the Fono.
The judicial system is based on English common law and local customs. The Supreme Court is the court of highest jurisdiction. Its chief justice is appointed by the chief of state upon the recommendation of the prime minister.