31 Aug 2006

Questions whether Asiata has the numbers to become Samoa opposition leader

8:02 pm on 31 August 2006

There are doubts at claims that Samoa's main opposition party, the Samoa Democratic United Party has dumped its long-time leader, Le Mamea Ropati.

Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai says he has the support of seven of the party's nine MPs to become leader.

However, at least one of those MPs has expressed concern at being linked to the change of leader.

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says Asiata could be denied the eight names necessary to confirm the leadership change with the Speaker.

He says Le Mamea, who is holding a media conference tomorrow morning, is expected to maintain he is still running the party.

"I am pretty sure that Le Mamea is going to say that I am still the leader of the opposition party, and if Asiata has eight members under the standing orders of Parliament then I congratulate him. But according to the announcement after the election, I am still the leader of the opposition."