Bitter rivals embrace as Samoan MPs finally sworn in

It came after opposition MPs were sworn in after a court ruling paved the way for them to be allowed into parliament.

The speaker, Papali'i Lio Masipau, had banned elected members of the opposition HRPP from attending this week's parliament sessions and refused to swear them in.

On Thursday however, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the HRPP saying the speaker was obligated to swear in its elected members.

Papali'i banned the opposition MPs for what he saw as their continued denial of the legitimacy of the FAST government.

Samoa Parliament session ends early as HRPP MPs leave

Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi spoke and hugged the former Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegoi earlier today.

Earlier the police ordered HRPP members to leave, with a bus waiting to take the HRPP members away from Parliament grounds, but the group refused.

After the arrival of the Head of State, the HRPP members eventually left on their own accord.

Tuilaepa and 18 members of the HRPP have been banned from entering parliament for a second day by the Speaker Papali'i Li'o Masipa'u for failing to acknowledge the FAST government.

Samoa police told to remove HRPP members

Despite the police instructing the HRPP to clear out, the opposition members have refused and requested the Speaker come out to address them in the FaaSamoa tradition.

They say this is the way they dealt with protest marches when they were in power.

The Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, then arrived was then seen greeting the tearful leader of the HRPP Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Tuimalealiifano's arrival came after 18 elected but unsworn MPs, including Tuilaepa, were protesting their inability to enter Parliament.

Barricades up as Samoa parliament meets

The barricades went up late last night after Police put out a public notice declaring Parliament building and surrounding grounds out of bounds for all members of the public.

This follows an earlier press release from the office of the Speaker, Papali'I Ta'eu Masipa'u, banning all uninvited members of the public from attending the session this morning.

In a letter to the HRPP Monday 13 September, Papali'I said that a decision had been made not to allow an expected swearing in ceremony for them when the House convenes today.

Parliament to convene in 7 days a 'stepping stone' for Samoa

The courts decision is expected to end a nearly three month long political and constitutional crisis, which Political Scientist Doctor Christina Laalaai-Tausa says is a huge relief.

​"It comes as huge relief for Samoans both locally and internationally, and hopefully is a stepping stone for things to go forward politically and legally."

PMN News reports whilst relieved, Laalaai-Tausa says the court order should have been specific about a date, to kick start the political process.

She says political stability is needed now.

Samoa’s Clerk to Parliament yet to receive notice to convene Parliament

A statement from the Office of the Clerk was issued last night in response to a media release titled “Head of State Agrees for Parliament to Convene” released yesterday afternoon.

A statement issued yesterday by FAST Party leader, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa

Samoa's Head of State will convene parliament to swear in MPs

Leaders of the majority FAST party - which won 26 of 51 seats - met with His Highness this afternoon to request that parliament be called on Friday.

FAST has advised the Head of State of their majority, and their intention to form a government once parliament meets.

The caretaker HRPP government is attempting to delay parliament, claiming legal challenges need to be settled first.

However FAST leader Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said the Head of State Tuimaleali'ifano Va'aleto'a Sualauvi II had agreed to convene parliament, although he has yet to confirm a date.

Samoa election official result adds another Parliamentary seat for women

Samoa's Head of State has declared that an additional seat has been added after an article in the country's constitution, regarding female representation, was activated.

Article 44(1A) requires that a minimum of 10 percent of Parliament's seats be occupied by female members.

In a public notice last night the Electoral Commission Office announced that the Article had been activated because the election results had not met the 10 percent threshold. Rather, "Only 9.8 percent of the women membership was achieved after the general election".

Samoa Speaker ousts two independent MPs

It came after last Friday's closing of nominations for the 2021 general election.

The seats, Faleata urban and Salega East, had been held by Olo Fiti Va'ai and Faumuina Wayne Fong.

The pair had breached parliamentary standing orders on switching allegiance to become candidates of the newly formed Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi, or F.A.S.T, political party, for next year's general election.

The MPs have publicly revealed the Speaker's decision after the sergeant at arms of Parliament delivered them a letter.

Regional law association calls on Samoa to reconsider proposed constitutional reforms

The South Pacific Lawyers' Association, or SPLA, says three controversial bills before Samoa's parliament would erode the independence of the judiciary and threaten the rule of law if enacted.

SPLA says while democracies can chart their own course, Samoa is proposing a way that has implications for the wider region.

Its principal concern is that the bills would compromise judicial independence by allowing a government appointed commission to dismiss judges.

The body says "a judge's tenure should never be subject to political or populist pressure".