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Samoa Poised to Welcome First Female Prime Minister

South Pacific nation’s high court restores April’s narrow parliamentary victory of opposition party led by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa

Samoa’s high court has restored the results of last month’s parliamentary election, putting the South Pacific nation one step closer to installing its first female prime minister.

The court on Monday ruled against a decision by the electoral commission that gave the ruling party of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi an extra parliamentary seat, giving it one seat advantage over the opposition led by Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. The court also ruled against efforts by Samoa’s head of state to void the results and conduct a new election.

The separate rulings give Fiame’s FAST party a bare 26-25 parliamentary majority, allowing her to form a government and end Tuilaepa’s 22-year hold on power. Fiame had served as Tuilaepa’s deputy prime minister until the two had a bitter split last year.