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Pacific Islands

Appeal Court orders Samoa's parliament to sit within 7 days. FAST party to form govt

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Samoa election: Fiame Naomi Mata'afa (left) and the former caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Maloelegaoi (right).

Samoa’s Parliament is to meet in seven days, the Samoa Court of Appeal ordered this afternoon. The court also declared that the political party commanding the majority of members of Parliament is the Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party, which will form a government.

The final Court of Appeal decision is that the FAST party has 26 seats and the Human Rights Party HRPPP of the caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa has 25.

Chief Justice, Satiu Simativa Perese clarified the Court of Appeal’s ruling of 2 June 2021 that had been subject to various interpretations by the caretaker Prime Minister and his party against the transition of power.

“Any interpretation or argument to the effect that the Court did rule on the interaction of article 44(1A) and 52 and what those rulings meant, are wrong,” he declared.

He also clarified that “any suggestions that both parties the Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) and the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) both hold 26 seats each, is also wrong.”

The unanimous decision handed down by Chief Justice, with Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren and Justice Ameperosa Roma, found,  “. . . that it would be scandalous if in the context of the present Constitutional crisis this Court, the final Appellant Court in Samoa, did not do all it reasonably could to articulate the law.

“[The court did not make] any suggestion that both parties continued past the 2 June 2021 decision to hold 26 seats each, is wrong. They did not. FAST had 26 seats and HRPP had 25.”

There has been a political battle in Samoa after its 9 April 2021 General Election, over which Political Party actually won the election: the leader of FAST Fiame Naomi Mataafa of the Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party or the former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.).

The Talamua reported that over a hundred supporters including the former Head of State and Tama Aiga, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi were in court to await the decision.