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Samoa 

Key facts

POPULATION (Census 2011): 188,000
AREA: 2,842 sq km
CAPITAL: Apia
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTION TO GDP: -
CURRENCY: tala (WST)
HEAD OF STATE: Tupua Tamasese Efi Tuiatua
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi Tuila'epa
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: parliamentary democracy
STATE STRUCTURE: unitary
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: unicameral
LANGUAGES: Samoan and English (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: March 2011, turnout: - ; next: 2016
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: March 2012, turnout: - ; next: March 2014

Summary

Samoa has two levels of government, a central government based on a modern state system and village local government based on traditional structures. The key governing legislation for village government comprises the Village Fono Act 1990 and the Internal Affairs Act 1995. The Division of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is responsible for administration of village affairs. Village fono have power to levy taxes in line with village usage to support community activities, but there is no legal provision to enforce collection, although traditional sanctions can be enforced with court approval. Central government makes transfer payments to local authorities for capital developments on an ad-hoc basis. The village has the power to promote development alone or in partnership with government ministries. Areas of responsibility include education, agriculture, fisheries, law and justice, public health and village hygiene, the construction of plantation roads, water supplies, sports and recreation, religion, and family welfare.
 

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