/ 26 May 2021

Samoa’s new PM takes her oath despite deadlock

Samoa’s first female PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa yesterday held her own swearing-in ceremony in a makeshift tent after 2 months of uncertainty and political stalemate. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered Mata’afa’s appointment, ending former PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s 22-year reign as leader. But proceedings were postponed, and Mata’afa was locked out of the parliament on Monday by her opponents. Malielegaoi says Mata’afa’s swearing-in is illegitimate, calling it a “joke”, but she accuses him of threatening Samoa’s democratic process by carrying out a coup. Mata’afa served as Malielegaoi’s deputy until she resigned last year and set up an opposition party, accusing him of overstepping his authority after so long in power.

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