08th March, 2016
Fiame Naomi Mataafa, the daughter of the first prime minister of Samoa, has been picked to be the country’s new deputy prime minister.
It’s the highest executive position that a woman has ever reached in the history of Samoa’s government.
Her selection was made at a meeting of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) after voters went to the polls and gave the ruling party of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi its biggest landslide victory in a 30-year rule.
Provisional results show that HRPP won 44 of the 49 contested seats, while the opposition Tautua Samoa party won just three seats and independent candidates took two.
Fiame Naomi Mataafa was the minister of justice in the previous government, and has also previously been the minister of youth, women and rural affairs, and the minister of education.
She was educated in New Zealand and was aged 18 when her father, Mataafa Fiame Mulinuu II, passed away,
Her late mother, Laulu Fetauimalemau Mataafa, was also a member of parliament.
She will replace Fonotoe Lauofo Pierre Meredith as deputy prime minister and, according to political observers, would be the most logical choice to succeed Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi as the head of HRPP and the next prime minister of Samoa should he give up the post.
She was one of four women elected to parliament in Friday’s polls, all from the HRPP.
This means that a recent amendment to the constitution reserving five seats for women will be enforced, which will create a 50th seat in parliament for a female MP.
[Source: Loop Samoa, 6th March 2016]