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New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Independent State of Samoa
Conventional short form Samoa
Local long form
Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
Local short form Samoa
Former Western Samoa

Government type
Parliamentary democracy

Capital
Name Apia
Geographic coordinates 13 49 S, 171 46 W
Time difference
UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

Administrative divisions
11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano

Independence
1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday
Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June

Constitution
1 January 1962

Legal system
Mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
21 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)
Head of government
Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FONOTOE Pierre Lauofo (since 2011)
Cabinet
Cabinet consists of 12 members appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
Elections
Chief of state elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
Election results
TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly

Legislative branch
Unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats, 47 members elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly non-Samoan or part-Samoan, voters who cannot, (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Fono from the 47 village-based electorates; members serve five-year terms)
Elections
Election last held on 4 March 2011 (next election to be held not later than March 2016)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 29, Tautua Samoa 13, independents 7

Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; District Court; Land and Titles Court

Political parties and leaders
Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]; Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]; Samoa Democratic United Party or SDUP [LE MAMEA Ropati]; Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toeolesulusulu SIUEVA]; Tautua Samoa [Vaelua Eti ALESANA]

Political pressure groups and leaders
NA

International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA
Chancery
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
Telephone
[1] (212) 599-6196 through 6197
FAX [1] (212) 599-0797
Consulate(s) general Pago Pago (American Samoa)

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission
US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
Embassy
Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
Mailing address P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
Telephone [685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX [685] 22030

Flag description
Red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation; red stands for courage, blue represents freedom, and white signifies purity

National symbol(s)
Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars)

National anthem
Name
"O le Fu"a o le Sa"olotoga o Samoa" (The Banner of Freedom)
Lyrics/music Sauni Iiga KURESA
Note
Adopted 1962; the anthem is also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)


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