3 Jun 2021

Samoa leaders both keen to meet following court ruling

12:04 pm on 3 June 2021

The leaders of Samoa's rival political parties have found something to agree on after the 9 April general elections - they will meet.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: Screengrab

Following yesterday's Court of Appeal decision, both caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and FAST Party leader Fiame Naomi Mata'afa announced they planned to meet.

But it is clear their intentions are miles apart.

Speaking on TV3 Samoa yesterday, Tuilaepa acknowledged the decision to void the appointment of a sixth woman MP meant his HRPP has 25 seats to FAST's 26.

Fiame told local media that with those numbers, they will be looking to meet with Tuilaepa to discuss his departure from office.

"We hope to meet with Tuilaepa, the leader of the HRPP and one who has been at the helm of our government, so we can discuss a transition based on the results as they stand of 26 FAST and 25 HRPP," she said.

FAST leader Fiame Naomi Mataafa speaks to the party 25 May 2021.

Photo: FAST party / Facebook / Screengrab

Tuilaepa said he believed his government was still the caretaker government until all election petitions and any resulting by-elections were completed.

In its decision, the Court said it holds the determination under Article 44(1A) of the Constitution must be made on the basis of the general election results as finally determined after the results of any electoral petitions under the Electoral Act 2019 and by-elections pursuant to the terms of that Act.

Tuilaepa said it was clear that Parliament could not convene until then.

"We have a chance to settle this in the traditional way," he said.

It is not known when the meeting will take place.