Samoa PM shows leniency towards unsworn opposition MPs

Samoa Government Building. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins
Samoa Government Building. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins
Samoa's new government says it will show leniency to the opposition Human Rights Protection Party MPs who were not sworn in in May.

The FAST party members, which won the April election, were sworn in under a tent outside parliament while the 25 HRPP members stayed away after a declaration by the Head of State who voided an earlier call for the meeting.

According to the Samoa Observer, the new Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said regardless of the differences between political parties the unsworn members represent their constituents.

Fiame said while the swearing-in held on the last day that parliament had to convene pursuant to the Constitution, the question of unsworn MPs remains unanswered and is for discussion.

Because the Supreme Law does not speak about this gap, she said the question is asked whether one will have to decide on it or do they have to go back to the Courts to determine it.

Further demonstration by opposition supporters

The planned peaceful march organised by Samoa's opposition will go ahead this morning with the blessings of the new police minister Faualo Harry Schuster.

According to the Samoa Observer, Faualo said the march was issued with a permit as well as for a vehicle convoy protest last Friday.

The convoy and march were organised by the Human Rights Protection Party to highlight what its leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi calls the desecration of the constitution by the judiciary.

Tuilaepa says the courts had acted against the constitution by assuming the role of the head of state to convene parliament.

Supreme Court justice Vui Clarence Nelson wrote to the police raising concerns for the safety of the members of the judiciary but Faualo says the police are dealing with those concerns.

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