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New senator for Alataua County sworn in

Chief Associate Judge, Mamea Sala Jr., (far right) administering the oath of office during a brief swearing in ceremony yesterday for Sauitufuga Masefau Pita Suiaunoa (far left-back to camera), as the new senator for Alataua county, while Sauitufuga’s wife, Taumaoe Lafaele Suiaunoa, holds the Bible.   [photo: FS]Newly sworn-in senator for Alataua county, Sauitufuga Masefau Pita Suiaunoa (left) with his wife, Taumaoe Lafaele Suiaunoa, posing for a photo in the Senate chamber, yesterday, after a brief swearing in ceremony. [photo: FS]

Sauitufuga Masefau Pita Suiaunoa was sworn in as the senator for the Alataua District during a brief ceremony held yesterday at the Senate chamber. The Alataua senatorial seat became vacant late last year after Sen. Paepae Iosefa Faiai stepped down to become a new Associate Judge of the High Court.

Prior to the swearing in ceremony at the Senate chambers, attended by several family members and friends of the new senator, Senate President Pro Tempore, Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua, convened a special meeting of the Senate to announce the results of the election by Alataua county.

Presented to senators was a Jan. 11, 2018 letter to Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, regarding the results of the election by Alataua, in which Sauitufuga was elected.

“I am confident that the newly elected senator will have a most successful and productive term,” Mauga wrote in the letter, which includes a Jan. 10, 2018 nomination decision signed by Alataua county leaders and executed by its county chief (fa’alupega).

Mauga’s letter, along with the county leaders’ decision and other information were presented to a three-member special committee, appointed by Nuauaolefeagaiga to review Sauitufuga’s selection and other pertinent information. Sen. Magalei Logovi’i was appointed chairman of the special committee and its members were Sens. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean and Fa’amausili Mau Mau Jr.

After a 10-minute recess the committee returned and announced its recommendation to approve Sauitufuga as the new senator.

He takes up the remaining three years left of Paepae’s term; and took his seat when the Senate session convened yesterday.

According to the Constitution, senators shall be elected in accordance with Samoan custom by the councils of the counties they are to represent. When a vacancy occurs, the governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancy, and the person elected holds office during the remainder of the term of his predecessor.

In accordance to the constitution, the governor had issued a writ of election for Alataua when the seat became vacant.