Impasse. Crisis. Historic.
All terms describing the current political situation in Sāmoa. On one side, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa and the Fast party have declared themselves the lawful, 17th Government of Sāmoa following the results of the April 9 general election. Directly opposed to that, and holding steadfast in his position as caretaker Prime Minister, is Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi. He's the leader of the HRPP and has been in charge for 22 years, about half the total time his party has been in government.
It's a power struggle which is testing Sāmoa's courts, and the unique foundation that enables a Westminster parliamentary system to operate with Sāmoa's indigenous governance system.
Significantly, it's also facilitated a fierce debate around what democracy looks like in Sāmoa.
A slew of cases essentially challenging the legality of the election result and connected legal developments - including the unexpected admittance of a sixth female MP to the legislative assembly based on a constitutionally mandated quota for women MPs - has meant close analysis of how leaders and senior public figures navigate division in Sāmoa.
The resulting level of uncertainty makes a clear case for immediate resolution. But, as we've seen over the past six weeks, simply upholding the election result is not straightforward.
Here, a close look at some of the issues in Sāmoa's developing democracy assists in understanding what may happen moving forward.
A peaceful political impasse is actually a good thing
Salā Dr George Carter, a research fellow in the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University and former political adviser at the US embassy in Apia, emphasises the importance of Sāmoa's change from a one-party system to two in a short timeframe.
Fast formed last year, and Fiame - Tuilaepa's former deputy - was officially named its leader in March. Like Fiame, many Fast members are former HRPP. Their shift in political allegiance was largely due to disagreement over proposed legislation aimed at fundamentally changing how Sāmoa's Land and Titles Court operates, as well as its wider judicial structure.
Salā: "Now, we have two main political parties - very strong leaders, very strong candidates but also a very strong base. All of which didn't really exist five months ago.
"We must also understand it's a clearly divided nation. Many of these people that are part of Fast have also been part of the HRPP, either the political party or public servants that worked within it. They know each other - there is familiarity between the parties."
After 40 years dominated by one party, moving to an alternative will take time - both for the political and public service infrastructure, and electorate, he says.
Not all options have been exhausted
Fiame and Tuilaepa are yet to meet directly and discuss the current political impasse. So far, the leaders have relied on public statements and media appearances to convey messages - perhaps the most striking being Fast's makeshift swearing-in ceremony last Monday.
Both Salā and University of Victoria senior lecturer and international and pacific politics expert Dr Iati Iati, believe even with matters before the court, the most likely avenue for long-standing resolution is through Sāmoa's traditional processes and institutions.
Salā: "We really need to revisit the Sāmoan cultural practice of soalaupule. It's a form of dialogue, earnest dialogue between parties that's not just about talking over the issue. It's about reconciliation ... and it happens within our families, our churches and within our districts".
Salā also touches on the importance of the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi, whose position is enshrined in the Constitution and commands the utmost respect in both the political and indigenous government systems.
"There's a person that's there that has not played his role in full, which is the head of state, but also his council of deputies," Salā says.
"He's suspended Parliament but hasn't come out and said his reasons why. And there's a lot of speculation that he's done this based on the Prime Minister's advice - which is just one way to look at it. We won't know until he decides to speak."
Notably, in his Independence Day address yesterday, the Head of State did call for reconciliation, forgiveness and unity. However, it remains unclear why he cancelled last week's sitting of Parliament.
Help from outside Sāmoa
Throughout the past six weeks, there have been varying calls for assistance from outside Sāmoa.
Iati: "You've got Fiame who's been asking for more of a voice from the international community to support what she sees as her and her party's democratic right to take power.
"On the other side of the aisle, you've got the HRPP, who've been asking for independent judges from overseas to sit on the Court of Appeal for the issue that's to be heard."
Despite this, both Iati and Salā say the best answer lies within Sāmoa, pointing out that criticism of the judiciary around election cases and politics happens in other democracies.
Iati: "The issue - and this came through from the HRPP side - is they've argued there could be a conflict of interest among the judges.
"On that particular front, anyone who knows Sāmoan politics should not be surprised. Because conflicts of interest occur all the time in Sāmoa, even in the courts. These are not new issues."
What is relevant to future elections and processes is why this was not front-footed in the first instance with declarations of interest from politicians and judges prior to cases, he says.
That question, and many others, will likely be answered in the aftermath of the current crisis. Alongside thorough analysis of events since April 9, they will be essential in ensuring a more sophisticated democracy moving forward.