31 Aug 2006

Samoa opposition leader Ropati dumped

3:10 pm on 31 August 2006

Samoa's main opposition party, the Samoa Democratic United Party, or SDUP, has dumped its long time leader, Le Mamea Ropati.

The change was announced by the new leader, Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, though Le Mamea, in a letter to Asiata, has refused to accept that he has been dumped.

Asiata says it is extremely high-minded of anyone to oppose the will of the caucus.

He says if Le Mamea refuses to back him, he would lose his seat because he could not become an independent.

Under the new parliament standing orders, an MP who decides to leave his or her party automatically loses the parliamentary seat, resulting in a by-election.

Asiata says seven MPs are supporting him and the new deputy leader, Mulipola Oliva, who is a first-time parliamentarian and former broadcaster.

The SDUP has nine MPs, while another lost his seat after an election petition ruling early this month.