Samoan parliament sits but opposition MPs banned

Samoa Parliament
Samoa police erected a barricade to deter people from approaching the Parliament building in Apia. Image: RNZ

RNZ Pacific

Five months after Samoa’s April 9 general election the FAST party government finally began its first parliamentary session today.

But it was without the members of the opposition HRPP party, who were shut out by the Speaker, Papalii Lio Masipau.

Papali’i announced a ban yesterday, saying the HRPP was still failing to acknowledge that the FAST party had won the election.

This follows months of legal squabbles between the parties but last month the Court of Appeal declared FAST were the legitimate winners of the election.

This morning the HRPP staged a march near the grounds of Parliament until police stepped in and told people to return to the party offices.

Samoa police had erected a barricade to deter people from approaching the Parliament building.

The opposition leader, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, called the ban from Parliament a ‘sad day for Samoa.’

He said FAST was behaving in a dictatorial manner, according to the Samoa Observer.

Tuilaepa claimed that such an event had never happened when the HRPP was in power.

However, on May 24 Parliament was locked preventing the FAST party from entering for the scheduled opening of Parliament.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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