2 Sep 2006

Samoa PM surprised by claims of opposition leadership change

9:01 am on 2 September 2006

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has called for a strong Opposition party in parliament.

The prime minister's call comes after he was told deputy leader Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, had taken over leadership of the main Opposition party.

Tuila'epa told reporters he was surprised by the change of leaders within the Samoa Democratic United Party and said he hoped the leadership change was not forced.

Otherwise he said, it will not come to a good end.

The SDUP leader, Le Mamea Ropati, meanwhile, still insists he is the partys leader, based on the unanimous party caucus written resolution made in April after the country's general election.

The resolution he says was presented to the speaker of parliament where it was announced in the first parliament session after all elected MPs were sworn in.