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The Government of Western Samoa governs by British standards. According to the Constitution, a new Head of State must be elected by Parliament every five years. In practice, however, this only works if the current head of state resigns: when Western Samoa became independent, the post was promised for life. The Head of State has the power to appoint the Prime Minister and to grant pardons. New heads of state will be elected by the four wealthy families of Western Samoa.

In 1963, Malietoa Tanumafili II (O le Ao o le Malo, meaning "head of government") became Head of State. He died on 12 May 2007. At that time, at 94 years of age, he was the oldest Head of State in the world. He was head of state for life.

His successor, Tufuga Efi, became Head of State on 16 June 2007 and was elected for five years.

The current political situation is described in the history section.


Since Western Samoa's independence, the island has concentrated on modern economic development. This economy is based on the agrarian culture of the villages and on primary products. 75% of the population lives from the agricultural sector. The primary sector employs 30% of the population and provides 80% of total exports. Despite the many investments, exports have fallen and imports have risen. Because of the immigration flow to America, it is difficult to find well-trained workers on the islands of Samoa. Coffee, copra, bananas and formerly taro are the most important export products of Western Samoa. As much as 60% of the population is engaged in fishing.

American Samoa is an unorganised part of the United States. Not all the rules of the US Constitution apply on this island. The island has its own Constitution, but is under the supervision of the United States. About a third of the population on American Samoa is employed by the government. The two fishing companies employ another one-third of the population. The last part of the population is employed in services and trade. American Samoa benefits from exports to the United States because they are tax-free.


Elmar Landeninformatie


CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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