Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Chiefs

Prime Minister Brown. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Let's all get used to saying those phrases, since as of yesterday the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Right Honorable J. Gordon Brown.

There's no formal or public inauguration ceremony in the UK. The transfer of power is actually quite informal.

Prime Minister Blair woke up, and went to parliament. There was one final session of "question period" where the members were able to ask him some departing questions. When that ended, he was then driven over to Buckingham palace, where he met with Queen Elizabeth, and informed her that he was resigning the office of Prime Minister, effective immediately. Now a private citizen, Blair left the place and went to his summer cottage in the British countryside.

The Queen then phoned Gordon Brown, who has been leader of the Labour Party (which holds the majority of seats in the parliament) for the last little while. She asked him to come to the palace, and he complied. Meeting him in the throne room, the Queen told Brown that based on his leadership role in the parliament she was officially appointing him Prime Minister. And thusly it was set.

Queen Elizabeth has participated in this secretive ceremony 11 times since she came to the throne in 1952.

And the rest...

Mr. Brown's ascension (or rather Mr. Blair's departure- who knows how long Mr. Brown will rule for) will obviously go down as one of the most important stories of the year. But other people were coming to power too! We can't forget them!

Like Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, who became the Supreme Chief of the Islands of Samoa on June 20. A respected statesman and career politician of over four decades, he was elected unanimously by parliament.

Mr. Efi is the son of Tupua Tamasese Mea'ole, a man who very briefly served as Samoa's joint Head of State before dying in office in 1962, leaving the recently departed Chief Malietoa Tanumafili the Second to rule alone until his death in 2007.

Mr. Efi also served as Prime Minister from 1976 to 1982. Though he comes from an elite tribal family, Efi will be the first republican ruler of Samoa. Following Chief Malietoa's death, the country ceased to be a monarchy and the job of Supreme Chief became an elected position. Mr. Efi will serve a five year term, ruling in a largely symbolic capacity until 2012.


Deb G. said...

Bye-bye Mr. Blair! I'll miss you... *sniff*

Arnie said...

He led the UK into an unpopular war, vandalised our constitution which has resulted in the rise of nationalist tensions in all 4 countries of the UK (well, three actually. England isn't a country according to Mr Blair, we are just a collection of artificial regions) and in his final act, agreed to the new EU treaty without offering us a referendum, even though the British people were explicitly offered one in the Labour party manifesto.

Quite the legacy, really.