Samoan court rules Parliament will have three new women MPs

Samoa will now have seven women members of Parliament after the Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Speaker, Papali'I Li'o Ta'eu Masipa'u, to swear in three new women MPs.

The Samoa Observer reports the decision means the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) will have two new members, Aliimalemanu Alofa Tu'uau and Fa'agaseali'i Sapo'a Feaga'i, while the ruling FAST party has one additional member, Toomata Norah Leota.

This boosts the number of seats in Parliament to 54.

The decision, however, makes little difference to FAST's majority as it now has 31 seats to the HRPP's 22.

One seat is yet to be decided with the pending by-election for the Gagaifomauga 2 seat which became vacant after Va'ele Iona Sekuini died suddenly last month.

Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese, Senior Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Lesatele Rapi Vaai handed down the decision Wednesday morning.

At the close of the final count for by-election votes at the end of last year, the then-Electoral Commissioner Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, invoked the provision allowing two extra women members to be elected based on percentage of votes cast in the constituency for them.

The Head of State then issued writs of appointment for Aliimalemanu and Fa'agaseali'i but their swearing-in was delayed by legal challenges.

The Observer says Toomata will be sworn be in as an additional MP under Article 1a (b) and 44 1E of the Constitution.


Photo file RNZ Pacific