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Taase, Pita G.

                                                                                                Political Science

                                                                                                05/13/98

 

 

THE POLITICS OF SAMOA STUDY GUIDE

(Answers by Jason Knapp, 12/18/03)

 

Introduction

 

            A lot of people here in the mainland U.S. have never heard of Samoans and where they come from.  Those who have heard about Samoans think that the Samoans come from one country – Samoa.  However, contrary to what people may think, Samoans actually come from two different regions.  One is an independent country, called Western Samoa.  The other, is a territory that belongs to the U.S. called American Samoa.  Due to the fact that in our Political Science class, we’ve been mainly studying the government of the United States of America, I will mainly be giving questions about American Samoa.  I will cover a little bit about Western Samoa as well, but mainly so that you will be able to differentiate the structures of both.  More specifically, the fact that Western Samoa’s government is much more similar to the British system, and American Samoa being more similar to the United States form of government.

           

It is my hope that a student wishing to learn more about Samoan politics will learn more about it after answering my questions. (Answers follow each question and begin with “A”).

 

Political Status 

 

1.      Why is American Samoa an “unincorporated” territory of the United States?

A: Not all provisions of the U.S. Constitution apply to the territory.

 

2.      Why is American Samoa considered “unorganized?"

A: The Congress has not provided the territory with an organic act, which organizes the government, much like a constitution would.

 

3.      Who has the Congress of the United States delegated to be the authoritative figure over American Samoa?

A: Secretary of the Interior

 

4.      What has the Secretary of the Interior authorized American Samoa to do?

A: Draft their own constitution under their government functions.

 

5.      What year did American Samoa begin electing a Governor and a Lt. Governor to office?

A: 1956

 

6.      What year did American Samoa send its first member to the U.S. Congress?

A: 1977

 

7.      Is the member of the U.S. Congress from American Samoa a voting member or a non-voting member?

A: Non-voting member

 

Executive Branch of American Samoa 

 

1.      Who is the governor of American Samoa?

A: Togiola Tulafono (D)

 

2.      How long is the governor’s term in office?

A: 4-year term

 

3.      Who elects the governor?

A: Citizens of American Samoa (Popular vote)

 

4.      Did the incumbent governor of American Samoa win by majority and plurality?  (Review terms from Political Science class)

A: Plurality

 

5.      How many departments of the Executive Branch are there in American Samoa?

A: 16

 

6.      Name the departments of the Executive Branch in American Samoa?

A: Department of Administrative Services, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health, Human Resources, Human and Social Services, Legal Affairs, Local Government, Marine and Wildlife Resources, Parks and Recreation, Port of Administration, Public Safety, Public Works, Treasury, Youth and Women's Affairs. 

 

Legislative Branch of American Samoa

 

1.      What is another name (four-letter Samoan word) for the Legislative Branch of American Samoa?

A: Fono

 

2.      What are the two houses of the American Samoan legislature?

A: Senate and House of Representatives

 

3.      How many total members (both houses) of the American Samoan legislature?

A: 39

 

4.      How many members are there for the American Samoan House of Representatives?

A: 21

 

5.      How long are the members of the American Samoan House of Representatives in office for?

A: 2-year term

 

6.      How are the members of the American Samoan House of Representatives elected?

A: Popular vote. One is an appointed, non-voting delegate from Swains Island.

 

7.      Is there a member of the American Samoan House of Representatives that is not from American Samoa?

A: Yes

 

8.      Where is the non-American Samoan House of Representatives member from?

A: Swains Island

 

9.      Are the members of the American Samoan House of Representatives single-seat constituencies?

A: Yes

 

10.  How many members are there for the American Samoan Senate?

A: 18

 

11.  Who elects the members of the American Samoan Senate?

A: Local Chiefs

 

12.  How long is the term of office for a member of the American Samoan Senate?

A: 4-year term

 

Judicial Branch of American Samoa  

 

1.      What is the name given to the Supreme Court of American Samoa?  (hint:  the abbreviation HC)

A: High Court

 

2.      How many members are in the American Samoan High Court?

A:

 

3.      What are the position names of the head members of the American Samoan High Court?

A: Chief Justice and Associate Justices

 

4.      Who appoints the Chief Justice and the Associate Justice of the American Samoan High Court?

A: Secretary of the Interior, from recommendations of the Local Government

 

5.      How are the proceedings conducted in a case in front of the American Samoan High Court?

A:

 

6.      What are the languages used in a case in front of the American Samoan High Court?

A:

 

7.      When is ONE language used for a case in front of the American Samoan High Court?

A:

 

The Government of Western Samoa (also known as the Independent State of Samoa) 

 

1.      How long is the term of the incumbent Head of State of Western Samoa?

A: Until his death

 

2.      The future of Head of State of Western Samoa will be elected to how many years of office?

A: 5-year term

 

3.      Who is the Prime Minister of Western Samoa?

A: Sailele Malielegaoi Tuila'epa (HRPP)

 

4.      What are the two major political parties of Western Samoa and give initials?

A: Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and Samoa National Development Party (SNDP)

 

5.      Which party forms the government of Western Samoa?

A: HRPP

 

6.      Due to the fact that the Samoan National Development Party (SNDP) is considered conservative, which MAJOR party in the United States would be similar to SNDP?

A: Republican

 

7.      The Human Rights Protection Party is considered to have centrist views. Who is the Head of State of Western Samoa?

A: Chief Tanumafili II Malietoa

 

8.      Which recent U.S. President would share similar views to the HRPP of Western Samoa?

A: President Bill Clinton

 

9.      What is the name (Samoan word—like American Samoa) given for the Legislative Body of Western Samoa?

A: Fono

 

10.  How many members are present in the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly?

A: 49

 

11.  How long are the terms for the members of the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly?

A: 5-year term

 

12.  What is a Matai?

A: Chief

 

13.  How many Matai’s (plural) make up the 49-member body of the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly?

A: 47

 

14.  Some of the Matai’s share two-seat constituencies, which means two people representing a district.  How many two-seat constituencies are there in the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly?

A: 6

 

15.  How many single-seat (one person representing a district – like the United States) are there in the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly?

A: 35

 

16.  How many members of the Western Samoan Legislative Assembly are non-Samoan nationals?

A: 2 

An analysis of non-Samoan nationals is totally different from the United States.  This means that there HAS to be someone in the Legislative Assembly of Western Samoa to represent all of the non-Samoan citizens Western Samoa.  This system is non-existent here in the U.S.

 

Additional Information

            If you are a Non-Harbor College Political Science student or anybody interested in answering the questions, the websites for information on American Samoa can be easily accessed by going to the Los Angeles Harbor College Homepage at http://www.lahc.edu.  Click on “Classes/Departments,” then click on Political Science.  In “Loitermans Links”, use CONTROL-F and type Samoa.  The sites are listed in a very easy-to-read manner.