| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Samoa’s new Prime Minister seeks to install Cabinet on Tuesday

Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Samoa’s first female Prime Minister, said her government would formally assume office next Monday, a day after the country’s Court of Appeal confirmed her government’s legality.

Following the court’s judgment, Mataafa told the media that parliament would gather as soon as possible next week to pass a temporary budget to keep the government running, giving her and her cabinet time to assess the country’s financial and economic situation.

“After meeting with important personnel, the Cabinet will formally assume office on Tuesday next week, with an expected smooth transition with the outgoing caretaker administration,” Mataafa told reporters.

Samoa, whose economy is based on subsistence farming, tourism, and the sale of fish and coconut products, has had to rely on foreign help and is severely indebted to China, who pledged to finance a port expansion by the previous government.

Fiame told Reuters in May that the Beijing-backed port project would be shelved, citing the $100 million cost as excessive for a small country already in debt.

The Pacific nation’s politics devolved into chaos this year after the incumbent, China-friendly Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, refused to step down after losing a parliamentary election in April, ending his 22-year reign.

“My administration is dedicated to restoring this country to the extraordinary place our predecessors envisioned when they seized the mantle of freedom nearly 60 years ago,” Mataafa stated.

  • Reuters