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Party leaders meet to discuss possible re-election in Samoa
05:45 am GMT+12, 04/05/2021, Samoa

The leaders of the two dominant political parties met with the Samoa Head of State today to discuss the possibility of the country heading into another election.  
Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) leader, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa met with the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II to talk over the matter earlier today.  
Mata'afa confirmed the meeting in a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer saying “yes it is true there was a meeting”.  
She declined to comment further stating a press statement will be issued this evening relating to the matter.  
Attempts are being made to get a comment from the Head of State and the Caretaker Prime Minister.  
Following April’s general election the results have left the two dominant parties in a 26-all draw of seats in Parliament.  
An electoral challenge seeking to void the appointment of Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’uau is pending in Court and the hearing is set for this Wednesday.  
Ali’imalemanu makes up 26 seats for the Human Rights Protection Party that initially won 25 seats from the general election, and FAST secured 26 representatives in Parliament including Independent members.  
If the decision from the Court goes in favour of FAST, it will reduce the number for HRPP leaving FAST with a slim majority of one.  
In the event that the Court dismisses the FAST argument and upholds the appointment of Ali’imalemanu, the country remains in a hung Parliament with no party majority to rule.  
There are currently 28 electoral petitions before the Court and the possibility of 28 counter petitions is likely, as indicated by the lawyers involved in the matters.  

Chief Justice, Satiu Simativa Perese estimates the time taken for the Courts to hear the matter will likely take up to 9 to 10 weeks.

Meanwhile, the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party has declined a request for a fresh election after a meeting with the Head of State and the Prime Minister today.

FAST leader, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa revealed that she has responded to the decision from the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Sualauvi Vaaletoa II to hold another election.

She said the reasons given by the Head of State for another election is due to “public disquiet” referring to Facebook posts and social media comments and a hung Parliament.

According to Mata'afa, the proposal was supported by the leader of the Human Rights Protection Party and Caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa  Sailele Malielegaoi.

Mata'afa and her party has rejected the proposal saying it “pre-empts” the decision from the Supreme Court that is pending for hearing tomorrow [Wednesday].

“…[It] undermines the actual votes of all the members of Parliament that were declared winners in the official count released by the Electoral Commissioner,” she said.

“These proposed actions are wrong and unlawful it also threatens and undermines the rule of law.

“In my written response to the Head of State I have asked him to allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the challenge before it.”

Furthermore, she said if the electoral challenge is successful, the issue is resolved and the seats numbers will be 26 to FAST and 25 to HRPP, as it was following the election.

If in the event their challenge is unsuccessful, Mata’afa said the Head of State is required by the Constitution to call Parliament by 24 May 2021.

She said a formal count can be taken of all the elected members to determine if any leader has the majority.

“If no leader has the majority of votes in Parliament then the session can adjourn to await the outcome of electoral petitions and then, only then, a new election should be called by the Head of State,” she added.  

The FAST leader alleges that actions taken by the Caretaker Prime Minister since election day has interrupted the proper process of elections under law.  

“This latest attempt to encourage the Head of State to act unlawfully, before an outcome of [FAST's] Court challenge of an official to change the results of election, is wrong and unlawful.”

The Head of State will make an announcement  this evening.


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