Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has set the record straight to say that Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo remains the Deputy Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa made the correction yesterday following numerous media reports in Samoa and overseas referring to Fiame Naomi Mata’afa as the Deputy Prime Minister.
The leader of the H.R.P.P said the Deputy Prime Minister would only be announced when Parliament gathers for its first session next week.
“I still am the Caretaker Prime Minister and Fonotoe is the Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister,” he said.
“No appointment can be made official until the (election) recount is done.
“Even the appointment of the Prime Minister has not been made. The appointments are only final when they take their oaths.”
Tuilaepa said the only position voted upon last Saturday was that of Deputy leader of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P), which Fiame won.
“That was done in accordance with our own (H.R.P.P.) Constitution,” he said.
Last Saturday, Fiame edged out another veteran H.R.P.P member, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, during a caucus vote. A source told the Samoa Observer the vote was 21-19 in favour of Fiame.
Asked at the time if the appointment would mean she would automatically become the Deputy Prime Minister, she said there are technicalities in terms of the position.
“This appointment (D.P.M) is a party appointment,” she explained. “But the Prime Minister has indicated he would of course take into consideration the vote of the party.
“I think it’s an issue that needs to be aligned. Just as our leader is the Prime Minister, I think it’s the most sensible thing that the Deputy Leader also becomes the Deputy Prime Minister.
“But those are the technical aspects that need to be aligned…”
Under the Constitution section 32, Cabinet, there shall be a cabinet of Ministers who shall have the general direction and control of the executive government of Samoa and shall be collectively responsible therefor to parliament.
The Constitution also states that the Head of State appoints the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.
In section 32 (2), the Head of State shall appoint a Prime Minister to preside over cabinet, a member of parliament who commands the confidence of a majority of the Members of Parliament.
(b) The Head of State shall, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint not fewer than eight nor more than twelve other Members of Parliament to be Ministers;
(ba) The Head of State shall, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint one of the Ministers appointed under subclause (b) to be Deputy Prime Minister;
(c) If an appointment is to be made while the Legislative Assembly is dissolved, a person who was a Member of Parliament immediately before the Assembly was last dissolved may be appointed to be Prime Minister or a Minister;
(d) Appointments under the provisions of this clause shall be made by the Head of State by instrument under the Public Seal.