26 Oct 2009

Samoa passes "party hopping" legislation

11:21 am on 26 October 2009

Samoa's Parliament has passed the second reading of two bills, one amending the country's constitution and another seeking to amend the electoral act.

The government says the bills have been introduced to prevent party hopping in the future.

The prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, says MPs must keep their promise with the voters of political parties they support after a parliamentary election.

He also says the measures ensure that parties in the future will be strengthened and that members will abide by the party.

"And not do what has happened and that is that members could leave the party and join up with other parties or form up new parties, you can not do that now."

He says the measures will mean a stable government in the present and in the future.

The bills will now go back to a select committee before returning to Parliament for a final reading.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Tautua Samoa party, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, has decribed the government's latest action as a misuse of power.