9 Feb 2007

Deputy leader of Samoa opposition party resigns

10:44 am on 9 February 2007

The Deputy leader of the Samoa Democratic United Party (SDUP), Aeau Peniamina Le'avai has quit the party.

And Aeau has told the Samoa Observer that another SDUP MP, Fuimaono Naoia Te'i, has also left.

Aeau says they quit the party after Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi rejected a request for the SDUP to be officially recognised as a political party in Parliament.

The SDUP lost that recognition when its numbers fell from eight to seven.

Parliament only recognises political parties that have a minimum of eight MPs.

Aeau said when the SDUP lost recognition he and Fuimaono saw no purpose in remaining party members.

But SDUP leader Asiata Saliemoa Va'ai has expressed surprise that the MPs have quit.

He said that he was not aware of their departure from the party.