Defiant Tuilaepa to appeal Samoa Court ruling

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Samoa caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said they will appeal part of this weeks’ court ruling especially the orders to convene Parliament within seven days of the ruling.

Tuilaepa has also said that the judiciary was over-reaching its powers and that one arm of government should not be “Hitler like” and asserting its authority over another.

He remains defiant in his stance that Parliament cannot meet until the election petitions and by-elections and if there is a need to activate the requirement to ensure there are six women parliamentarians.

However, on Tuesday this week, a woman MP of the HRPP party opted to resign her seat as part of a settlement to withdraw an election petition alleging bribery and treating against her.

Tuilaepa hammered the FAST Party’s swearing in ceremony of 24 May 2021 that the Court ruled as “unconstitutional and unlawful”. The same decision also said the same swearing-in ceremony will be revisited if the order to convene Parliament is not upheld.

Tuilaepa referred to this part of the ruling as “si’usi’u” – the tail of the court ruling.

“We amended the law so our Samoan Judges can handle our own matters including appeals, however, it seems that the decisions they are making come with a tail – si’usi’u,” he said.

He referred to the appeal against the Supreme Court ruling on Article 44(1a) which ruled in their favour for six women in Parliament, but can only be activated after the by-elections.

“The decision was fair but it came with a tail too,” he said.

The ruling early this week ordered the convening of Parliament within seven days and attempts to obstruct the activation of the order will be subject to contempt.

Should the convening of Parliament does not happen, then the Court will revisit the Doctrine of Necessity used by FAST to conduct the 24 May swearing-in under a tent in-front of a locked Parliament building.

Revisiting the doctrine could result in declaring of the swearing-in valid.

However, Tuilaepa said only the Head of State has the power to convene Parliament and that the Court seemed to be interfering with the role of the other arms of Government.

He insisted that Parliament cannot convene until all election matters before the Court are settled, and that by-elections are done to ensure that all 51 MP’s are present when Parliament convene.

On Tuesday this week, two HRPP elected members facing bribery and treating charges resigned and diminishing HRPP seats to 22 after one seat was declared void when election bribery charges were confirmed.

The FAST Party remains with 26 seats as two more election petitions against its elected members were withdrawn Thursday.

SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS