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Swearing in for Senate and House also set for today

As of last Friday morning, seventeen of the 18-member Senate have been selected by their respective county councils and submitted to the Office of Samoan Affairs, which then presents the official certifying list to the Senate during today’s swearing in ceremony for the new 35th Legislature.

The not-yet-confirmed senatorial seat is one of the two seats for Manu’a District #1, comprising Fitiuta, Ta’u and Faleasao. In the last four years Manu’a District #1 has been represented by Sens. Galeai Tu’ufuli and Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga, who was also the Senate President Pro Tempore.

Nuanuaolefeagaiga told Samoa News in late November that traditional leaders of Manu’a District #1 met on Thanksgiving Day at Malaetele, the traditional meeting grounds, and he along with Galeai were returned to the Senate.

However, Samoa News learned last month from relatives of Ta’u traditional leaders that Nuanuaolefeagaiga’s re-selection is “being disputed” by other ranking chiefs and therefore returning Nuanuaolefeagaiga to the Senate is not confirmed by all traditional leaders.

Samoa News understands the names of Galeai and Nuanuaolefeagaiga were sent to the Office of Samoan Affairs, which also received objections from other Ta’u traditional leaders, who support another traditional leader for the seat. Therefore, the Office of Samoa Affairs has returned the matter back to the county councils for discussion in order for a consensus to be reached.

As of last Friday morning, the two seats for Manu’a District #1 have not been certified by Samoan Affairs because of the alleged “dispute” over Nuanuaolefeagaiga, according to sources, who added that Galeai being returned to the Senate is confirmed.

In another senatorial selection, Sen. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean has been returned as one of the three senators for Maoputasi county. However, he was appointed last Friday by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga as the acting Police Commissioner, effective 12 noon today. (See separate story printed elsewhere in today’s edition.)

As previously reported by Samoa News and confirmed by traditional leaders of varies counties the following are confirmed members of the new Senate:

•     Manu’a #2 (Ofu, Olosega/Sili): Misaalefua J. Hudson

•     Saole: Tua’a Sam Vaouli

•     Vaifanua: Gaoteote Tofau Palaie

•     Sua: Faamausili Mau Mau Jr., and Muagututia Moevasa Tauoa

•     Ma’oputasi: Tilo Vasaga,Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, and Fano Shimasaki Fano

•     Ituau: Levu Solaita and Alo Fa’auuga

•     Tualauta: Magalei Logovi’i and Fonoti Tafa’ifa Aufata

•     Leasina/Aitulagi: Tuiagamoa Tavai

•     Tualatai: Satele Galu Satele Sr.

•     Fofo: Fa’iivae A. Godinet

•     Alataua: Paepae Iosefa Faia’i

Meanwhile, also to be sworn into office as 12noon today are 21 members of the House of Representatives.

After taking the oath of office, the Senate and House will elect today, the Senate President and House Speaker, the Senate Secretary and Chief House Clerk as well as the Sergeant-At-Arms for both chambers.

Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie and House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale are seeking to return to the Fono leadership posts. So far, there doesn't appear to be any challengers for the leadership in either chamber.