Fiame Naomi Mataafa is poised to become Samoa’s first female prime minister, after the Pacific nation’s top court on Monday helped break a month-long political impasse that followed a tightly contested April election.

Samoa’s Supreme Court on Monday afternoon overruled an attempt by the head of state Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II to void the election results, local media reported. Earlier in the day, the court rejected the post-election creation of an additional parliamentary seat by the electoral commission that briefly gave the incumbent government a majority.

The court decisions clear the path for Fiame’s FAST party to form a government, ending the rule of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who has fought to hold onto power after governing for over two decades, making him one of the longest-serving leaders in the world.

It was not immediately clear if there are legislative or legal avenues open to Tuilaepa to challenge Fiame, who now has a slim majority of support in the 51-member parliament.

Tuilaepa’s government did not immediately respond to questions on Monday.

Dressed in red, Fiame’s supporters celebrated the legal decisions by singing outside the court in the capital Apia on Monday, video footage showed.

Fiame is a former deputy prime minister who split with the government last year after opposing changes to Samoa’s constitution and judicial system.

Tuilaepa has also faced criticism in recent years over his handling of a measles crisis in 2019 which killed 83, mainly young people, and the government’s close relationship with China.

Samoa has a strong history of migration. Around one-sixth of the island nation’s 200,000 residents are of mixed Samoan and Chinese descent, according to census data.

The Pacific nation shut its borders early in the coronavirus pandemic and has any avoided widespread community transmission of COVID-19 infections.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/samoa-set-appoint-first-female-prime-minister-2021-05-17/

You May Also Like

EU reaches deal on tax transparency for multinational firms

European Union government and parliament negotiators reached a deal on Tuesday on rules that will force large multinational companies to disclose how much revenue and tax they pay in the 27-nation bloc and how much in countries considered tax havens by the EU.

Ackman reinvents SPAC in Universal Music deal talks

William Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH.N) said on Friday it was in talks to buy 10% of Universal Music Group at a 35 billion euro ($42 billion) valuation, in a departure from the playbook of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

Southeast Asian leaders discuss Myanmar crisis with junta chief

Southeast Asian leaders began a crisis meeting on Myanmar on Saturday aiming…