3 Jul 2009

Possible amendments to Samoa's Electoral Act following court decision

6:34 am on 3 July 2009

Several amendments could be made to Samoa's Electoral Act to maintain Parliament and government stability in the future.

The move follows a court decision yesterday which quashed a ruling last month by the parliamentary speaker, Tolofuiaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, which declared nine seats of the Tautua Samoa party vacant.

The Chief Justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu, ordered the nine to return to Parliament and the by-elections to be cancelled saying the speakers ruling was wrong under section 15 of the Electoral Act.

The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, following the ruling, said there is a possibility that Parliament may consider further amendments to the Electoral Act to make sure MPs maintain their oath of allegiance.

But the prime minister was reluctant to accept the defeat of the speaker's ruling in the court case until he sees the written decision.

Tuila'epa is expected to comment publicly about the ruling after he reads the written ruling.

Meanwhile, the Tautua Samoa party is now considering whether to continue their legal claim of more than 5 million US dollars against the speaker.