By-elections to be called in Samoa for three vacant seats

Updated at 2:10 pm on 19 March 2010

Members of the Tautua Samoa party forced out by the Samoa government's amendments to the Electoral act say they will contest the upcoming by-elections for their seats.

The new law requires that all MPs remain loyal to the political party they entered Parliament in on, a measure aimed at preventing party hopping.

The amendment has led to the departure of the three MPs whose party was formed during the current parliamentary term.

One of the outgoing MPs, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, chairman of the party, says they thought the legislation would be introduced after the general election next year.

But Lealailepule says his party is well prepared.

"I think by taking this bold and risky move we will further earn the respect and the confidence of this country and hopefully we will get more and more supporters by doing this, going to the by-elections."

Lealailepule says the other members of his party will still remain in parliament but as independent MPs.

No date has been set for the by-elections.

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