Samoa’s deepening political crisis has taken yet another turn today after the Attorney-General’s office launched an astounding attack on the country’s judiciary.
The Supreme Court hearing over whether the swearing in of the FAST party outside Parliament was legitimate has been adjourned to next week after the Attorney-General’s office called for the withdrawal of all local judges, citing potential conflicts of interest.
In a media statement, the Attorney-General’s office said the actions of the judiciary was “concerning” after the Chief Justice had tried to open the locked doors of Parliament on Monday.
- READ MORE: Fiame calls for Tuila’epa to end Samoa’s ‘enormous assault’
- Despite a veneer of democracy, Samoa is sliding into autocracy
- Samoan democracy hangs in the balance as a constitutional arm wrestle plays out
- Samoa’s stunning election result: on the verge of a new ruling party for the first time in 40 years
- Samoa incumbent leader needs to ‘get a grip’, says PM-elect Fiame
- FAST heading back to court to try and resolve political impasse in Samoa
- Other Samoan political crisis reports on Asia Pacific Report
- RNZ’s live updates
- The Pacific Newsroom’s updates
- What you need to know about the Samoa crisis
- The Samoa Observer editorial – Swearing-in strengthens nation’s foundation
Hearing adjourned in Samoa over whether FAST Party’s ad hoc swearing in was constitutional. Video: TVNZ News
This came after the Supreme Court had ruled Parliament must sit on Monday but that was ignored by the Speaker of Parliament and incumbent Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi who ordered Parliament closed.
The Attorney-General’s office alleged Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese may be in contempt of Parliament and “as the Chief Justice, the caretaker Speaker and staff are not subject to court jurisdiction as per the law”.
Another case which was to be heard by the Court of Appeal over the extra creation of a seat to meet the minimum 10 percent requirement of women in Parliament is also on hold until next week.
Again the Attorney-General’s office said local judges had a “potential conflict of interest and potential favouritism” as all four cases between the FAST party and HRPP had been ruled against HRPP.
In court today, the Chief Justice asked on what authority the Attorney-General’s office had to dictate the work of the judiciary.
He said the Supreme Court would rule next week over whether there was any merit to the recusal or withdrawal of judges.
Republished with the author’s permission.