13 Apr 2005

Academic says Samoa's opposition still exists

3:58 pm on 13 April 2005

Samoa's anti-party hopping legislation is being defended by an academic who says it provides stability, despite opposition claims it's depriving them of their rights.

Dr Asofou So'o says the amended Electoral Act and parliamentary standing orders back up the speaker's decision NOT to recognise the recently formed Samoa Democratic United Party.

The opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, says there's no reason for this to happen because the SDUP is made up of members of his Samoa National Development party and a group of independents.

But, Dr Asofou says MPs can't change parties once parliament meets due to the country's anti-party hopping legislation, and this promotes stability.

"Parties in the Pacific, Melanesian in particular, are very characterised by party switching, switching from one side to the other, to the extent that those parliaments have been very unstable."

Dr Asofou says the only options for the opposition are to persuade government MPs to support their policies in parliament or at election time to stand candidates whom people will vote for.