7 Sep 2006

Samoa opposition still divided over leadership

10:12 am on 7 September 2006

A member of Samoa's opposition Democratic Party, Mulipola Oliva, says he is not on either side of the now two factions of the party but is trying to repair relations and mend the divide.

Mulipola was named as deputy leader of the SDUP by caucus members who supported Asiata Saleimoa Va'ai as leader last Wednesday.

But Mulipola now maintains that he was never elected to that position in the first place.

He says he doesn't want to be the deputy leader, while there are older members of the party more suitable for the position.

His statement further clouds the circumstances surrounding the SDUP's break-up.

According to the Samoa Observer Mulipola sat at Asiata's side while the announcement of his appointment as deputy leader was made to reporters last week.

Yesterday Asiata claimed that Mulipola was still in his camp, contradicting reports that Mulipola had moved back to Le Mamea's side.

Last Friday Mulipola wrote to all members of the party caucus saying he no longer supported either side and calling for a meeting today to patch up the differences between the two sides.