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Samoa, Government

South Pacific Forum, legislative branches, Fono, matai, Commonwealth of Nations

Samoa is governed under a 1962 constitution. The country has an elected legislative assembly, called the Fono, that consists of 47 matai and two members representing the non-Samoan community. All citizens aged 21 and over are eligible to vote. The head of state, largely a ceremonial title, is currently a member of one of Samoa’s paramount chiefly families. He holds this title for life, but when he dies the legislative assembly will elect the head of state to a five-year term. Actual executive power is vested in the head of government, a prime minister who is selected by the Fono from among its members. The judiciary is independent of both executive and legislative branches and includes the Supreme Court and lower courts. The chief justice is appointed by the head of state.

Samoa became a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. The country joined the UN in 1976 and has since become a member of several of the organizations affiliated with it, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Samoa is also a member of the South Pacific Forum, a regional organization that addresses the foreign affairs and international trade of its member countries.

Article key phrases:

South Pacific Forum, legislative branches, Fono, matai, Commonwealth of Nations, regional organization, IMF, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, chief justice, lower courts, member countries, Supreme Court, citizens, constitution, foreign affairs, Samoa, prime minister, head of state, judiciary, international trade, head of government, organizations, life, country, members


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