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American Samoa, Government

The islands are administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under their constitution of 1966, executive authority lies with the governor, who has been elected by popular vote since 1977. Samoans are U.S. nationals, and their constitution contains most of the guarantees of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Legislative authority is vested in the Samoan legislature, or Fono, which consists of a senate and house of representatives. The senate has 18 members, who are elected, according to Samoan custom, from the local chiefs, and the house has 20 members, elected by popular vote. The islands are divided into three districts, each having a Samoan governor. Local administrative matters are conducted by village, county, and district councils composed of hereditary chiefs and their advisers. The judicial system includes a high court and five district courts. The secretary of the interior appoints the chief justice and an associate justice, who are assisted by four Samoan associate judges. Medical attention is provided by the government, which operates a general hospital, eight dispensaries, and a medical center that specializes in treatment of tropical diseases.

 
 

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