Samoa’s caretaker PM Tuila’epa sued for contempt of court

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Samoan Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa
Samoan Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata'afa ... maintains that FAST holds the majority of 26 seats to the HRPP's 25. Image: APR screenshot

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

In the latest twist in Samoa’s political rollercoaster, the FAST party has accused the rival HRPP leader of contempt of court, reports Pacific Media Network News.

Tuila’epa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has been accused of ignoring a Supreme Court ruling to convene Parliament, when FAST should have been sworn in as government.

Also accused alongside Tuila’epa is the Speaker of Parliament, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and the Attorney-General.

The motion was filed by Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, leader of the FAST party, who has also accused Tuila’epa of undermining the judiciary through disparaging comments.


Fiame Naomi Mata’afa speaking on 531pi’s Pacific Days. Video: PMN News

Speaking on 531pi’s Pacific Days, Fiame claimed her opposite number was still refusing to accept his defeat in the April 9 general election.

Negotiations between Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi broke down earlier this week after they disagreed on a transition to a new government

Fiame claims there was nothing out of the ordinary regarding her request.

Transition to new government
“We were looking for a discussion to transition to a new government and then moving out.

“It’s not as though he [Tuila’epa] should be surprised. I think the man is in serious denial, as though it’s very unusual for a party that has won the election to say, ‘Listen mate, these are the results and you should be moving out and let’s have a discussion about that’.”

Fiame doubts there will be further negotiations given the stance taken by herself and her opposite, Tuila’epa.

“Well, you never say no to a negotiation if there’s some rational outcome to be gained from it, but from the positions that we’ve taken and especially the interpretations of the appeal court’s decision, I don’t see it.”

Fiame told Pacific Days that she found it an irony about what was being discussed between the two political party leaders.

“This whole impasse is centered around representation for women, so as a woman, I’m quite fascinated,” she said.

“I’m always pleased if there’s an increase of women in Parliament, but people need to understand that this is a particular provision within the law and there are issues around it.”

Prepared for court rulings
The FAST party leader said she was prepared to go through the formal process of the court ruling on election petitions in order to come to a resolution.

“He’s [Tuila’epa] wanting to delay the process of government, of Parliament meeting and for us to move in and he was saying to us, it was in our interest to cut short this process and do what he was offering of 26 members each going into the House,” Fiame says.

“So I said to him, ‘Listen, however long it takes, you can be sure that we will be pursuing that and through the law’.”

When asked whether the FAST party would be willing to go through a second election, Fiame replied: “Why would we? We won the election. We’re not silly.”

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