8 Aug 2005

Parliamentary delegation advises Samoa to reinstate Deputy Opposition leader to Parliament

8:48 pm on 8 August 2005

An Inter-Parliamentary Union delegation has recommended that

Deputy Opposition Leader Asiata Saleimoa Vaai should be immediately

reinstated to Parliament and paid in full.

The delegation, which visited Samoa to investigate complaints by Asiata and the Samoa Democratic United Party, also recommended that the SDUP be recognized as an official party in Parliament, and that its leader, Le Mamea Ropati be instated as the leader of the Opposition.

The report said that the delegation can only consider the absence of a formal opposition to be unsatisfactory and detrimental to the democratic system in Samoa.

The delegation questioned the procedures under which Asiata had been suspended from Parliament including the participation of Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele in the Privileges and Ethics committee hearing.

It pointed out that Asiata had been suspended for four months without pay in April for sending a complaint about the actions of some in the government to the Inter Parliamentary Union.

The Assembly's Privileges and Ethics Committee had voted that Asista be suspended for signing the complaint and also for a letter of complaint he sent to the Samoa Observer newspaper.