Parliament reduces Head of State’s term to ten years

The Government has amended the Constitution to reduce the term in office for the Head of State to ten years. 

And after the first term, the Head of State is only eligible upon reappointment for a second term. 

These amendments – known as the Head of State Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 – were passed into law in Parliament last month.

Member of Parliament, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, was the only MP who voted against this bill.

Prior to this constitutional amendment, the Head of State served in office on appointment by the winning party and approved by Members of Parliament. 

Samoa’s Head of State, Highness Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II was appointed to office in July, 2017 and before that Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, who served for 10 years. 

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The Constitution Amendment Act 2019 reads: 2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person who holds, or who has held for one (1) term, office as Head of State, is only eligible for re-appointment to that Office once. (2A) A person who has held the office as Head of State for two (2) terms is not eligible to be reappointed to that Office.”

 The Constitution Amendment Act 2019 is administered by the Office of the Attorney General.” 

Late last year the Samoa Government also proposed to amend the entitlements and salaries of the Head of State and Council of Deputy Members in line with the public service salary scale.

The amendments to the Head of State Act 1965 – if passed by the Parliament – will Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet also see the Head of State Act administered by the.

Another amendment touches on the official addressing of the Head of State as His Highness replaced with “Afioga i le Ao o le Malo” and her Highness the Masiofo” with “Afioga i le Masiofo/Ali’i” or the spouse of the Head of State.

Another proposed change relates to the allowances and privileges of the spouse of the Head of State.

“If the Head of State is living with his or her spouse at the time of his or her death, the spouse is entitled to be paid an amount equal to the salary of the Head of State, for three months from the date of death of the Head of State as a one off payment.”

Furthermore, a secretary to the Head of State, who is appointed by Cabinet on a three-year contract, will be responsible for the administration of the Office.

This amendment was passed in the second reading and is still with Parliamentary Committee.  

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