Political tensions deepen in Samoa
May 24, 2021 3:54 pm
Samoa’s Chief Justice at the locked doors of Parliament this morning [Source: Samoa Observer]
Political tensions have deepened in Samoa, as the FAST Party, which holds the majority of votes, has been shut out of parliament on the day MPs are due to be sworn in.
Footage from Apia shows the Pacific nation’s judiciary and Chief Justice also attempt to attend parliament.
Police were also in attendance in an attempt to uphold the law, but all were locked out of the building.
In an extraordinary move over the weekend, Samoan parliament speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi disregarded a Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for the
Legislative Assembly to convene today.
The FAST Party was expected to declare its majority when parliament met, and announce Samoa’s first female Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
Under Samoa’s constitution, parliament must sit within 45 days of an election, with today being the last day for it to be possible.
Over the weekend Samoa’s Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II cancelled the opening of parliament “until such time as to be announced and for reasons that I will make known in due course”, his order read.
An urgent court hearing overruled Sualauvi, before Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afis declared parliament would not convene until a new proclamation had been made by Sualauvi.