15 Nov 2006

Samoa's SDUP fights to retain party status

4:32 pm on 15 November 2006

The leader of Samoa's Democratic United Party, the SDUP, says the party may have to take legal action over the government attempts to effectively get rid of an opposition.

Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, says he is suprised by the speaker's ruling not to change standing orders to lower the required number of MPs in an opposition party from 8 to 7.

Asiata says under the Electoral Act, the SDUP continues to exist and they are not independent MPs as the government is trying to claim.

"We are registered under that act so we exist in law as a registered entity but standing orders says a party has to have 8 members before it can be recognised as a political party in parliament. The recognition is affected but the registration - no, no, we are still very much alive."

Asiata says the party is likely to make a decision by the end of the week about whether to pursue legal action over the decision.