Convene Samoa Parliament as per ruling: NZ Foreign Minister

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New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has urged Samoa to convene Parliament following a Supreme Court ruling early in the week that ordered the House to sit within seven days.

Mahuta acknowledged the decision of the Court on Monday as well as the Appellate Court last Friday when she took to Twitter on Monday to make the appeal.

She called on all parties in Samoa to work together to convene Parliament and form the new government without delay.

“New Zealand acknowledges the Supreme Court of Samoa decision today, as well as the clarification by the Court of Appeal on 25 June,” she tweeted.

“We call on all parties to work together to convene Parliament to enable the formation of a Government without further delay.”

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that Parliament convene within seven days while also declaring that a purported swearing-in by the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party was unlawful.

The Court of Appeal last Friday dispelled the view of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) that Parliament cannot meet unless the sixth woman’s seat is confirmed.

The tweet by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister is a shift away from the diplomatic position that her government took on Samoa’s two-month-old constitutional crisis last month.

“Aotearoa New Zealand respects the sovereignty of Samoa and acknowledges the mana of Samoa’s democratic institutions including the courts which have an important democratic and constitutional role,” she posted on Twitter last month.

“We call for all parties in Samoa to continue to uphold the rule of law and demonstrate respect for the democratic process. We are willing to offer support to Samoa should that be useful during this complex period.

“We recognise that Samoa has the combined wisdom and experience of traditional and church leaders who will want to see a peaceful outcome.

“We look forward to working with a democratically elected government of Samoa.”

Last Saturday Australia’s Ministers for Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Pacific, Senators Marise Payne and Zed Seselja released a joint statement acknowledging the decisions of the Courts and urging parties to convene the Parliament.

“The Australian Government acknowledges the declaratory statement by the Samoan Court of Appeal that its ruling of 2 June 2021 does not prevent the convening of Parliament,” reads the two Australian Ministers’ joint statement.

“We urge all parties to cooperate, with a view to convening the parliament and enabling the formation of a government.

“This year Australia and Samoa mark 50 years of diplomatic relations, achieving much together and in the region.

“We look forward to continuing our cooperation with Samoa to strengthen our bilateral links and promote a stable, inclusive and prosperous region.”

However, hours after the Court’s ruling was delivered on Monday, caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said that all of the Parliament’s seats should be filled in order for the House to convene, disregarding the orders of the Court.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS