27 May 2020

More ructions in Samoa's ruling HRPP

12:34 pm on 27 May 2020

A former Speaker and Cabinet Minister is continuing to fight to stay a member of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party even though the Prime Minister says he's sacked.

Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt

Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The Samoa Observer newspaper reported La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao saying Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi had no authority to sack him and he was being bullied by the Prime Minister.

However, Tuilaepa said on his radio broadcast that the now backbencher had been kicked out of the HRPP.

"I am not used to making threats, but the decision has been made; he has been sacked and he cannot come back to our party," he said.

He said he had tried to make it easier for the MP by asking him to resign from the party.

"But he was sacked from the party when he voted against the proposed amendments to the Constitution," Tuilaepa said

La'aulialemalietoa insisted only his constituents could remove him from the party and not the Prime Minister.

"He does not have the authority to sack me from the party. I respect the position of the Prime Minister and his titles but he does not rule the party," he said.

Parliamentary standing orders are that when an MP is no longer a party member, they must vacate the seat and a by-election is held.

The member may run in the by-election as an independent if he or she wants.

La'aulialemalietoa is the third party MP to speak out against the bills which seek to amend the Constitution and revamp the judiciary.

This week Afoa Fale'ulu Mauli agreed with his Palauli West constituents to speak out against the government's suite of three bills and earlier fellow HRPP MP, Faumuina Wayne Fong, publicly opposed the move, sparking advice from the prime minister to quit if he felt so strongly and couldn't be supportive.

Tuilaepa had also clashed in Parliament with his Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa over the moves.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi addresses the UN session in Apia

PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: UN

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