Samoa political rivals shake hands, hug before swearing-in

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Former Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi shook hands with his successor Fiame Naomi Mata’afa as her Cabinet Ministers and Members arrived for Friday’s Parliament session.

Ahead of the 18 HRPP elected Members of Parliament swearing-in ceremony Friday morning, Samoa’s two dominant parties have finally set aside their differences, in what would hopefully bring to an end the four-months running political crisis.

The Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Vaai was the first to greet the members of the rival party who were already seated on the right side of the House.

His gesture was received with a hug from Tuilaepa who stood up and crossed the floor to greet his successor Mata’afa.

It was a relief from those inside the House to see the leaders of the country finally meeting halfway, smiling and hugging.

The development comes after the Supreme Court on Thursday, following an application filed by the former ruling party, ruled that the HRPP members are sworn in by the Speaker of the House, Papalii Lio Masipau.

Papalii has a duty to administer the oath of allegiance for the unsworn MPs, the Court declared.

Those present in the Parliament included heads of government offices as well as relatives of the elected HRPP members to witness the delayed swearing-in.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS