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Samoa’s powers-that-be have blocked PM-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s transition to power, locking her out of the parliament building for what was to be her swearing-in ceremony yesterday. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Mata’afa’s appointment, ending Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s 22-year reign as leader. But the head of state Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II postponed proceedings, and Malielegaoi says he intends on remaining in office. Mata’afa – who comes from royal lineage and is the daughter of the country’s first prime minister – is set to become Samoa’s first female PM following a complicated process to break an election deadlock. “This is an illegal takeover of government, essentially that’s what coups are,” Mata’afa said. Foreign Minister Marise Payne yesterday called for calm and said Oz has “faith in Samoa’s institutions including the judiciary.”
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