2 Jul 2009

Court reinstates Samoa MPs, cancels by-elections

1:35 pm on 2 July 2009

The Supreme Court in Samoa has quashed a ruling by the Speaker of Parliament, which declared nine parliamentary seats for the Tautua Samoa party to be vacant.

The Speaker, Tolofuiaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, argued that forming a party during the parliamentary term was a breach of standing orders.

Chief Justice Patu Falefatu Sapolu has ordered for nine MPs to be returned to Parliament and by-elections to be cancelled because the Speaker's ruling was wrong under section 15 of the Electoral Act.

Radio New Zealand International reports the ruling is described as historic.

The Tautua Samoa party is now considering whether to continue a legal claim of more than $US million against the Speaker.