30 Dec 2003

Opposition parties merge in Samoa to fight next general elections

4:16 pm on 30 December 2003

Samoa's opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, says the two opposition parties have merged in order to fight the next general elections.

He is now the leader of the Samoa Democratic United party, the SDUP, formed by the Samoa National Development party and the Samoa United Independents party, joining together.

Le Mamea says with only 17 MPs out of the 49 member parliament, there is still not a lot the opposition can challenge the government on.

"It's very difficult at this stage to do anything about it but we're doing this especially to prepare for the next general election. But, at the moment, it's very difficult for us - government with about 30 members and our 17. Our numbers are not in the stage where we can do anything at this current parliament sessions."

Le Mamea Ropati.

The SDUP is still to officially register and its caucus is yet to elect a deputy leader although that's expected to happen next month.