7 Apr 2005

Samoa's parliament without opposition following speaker ruling

4:56 pm on 7 April 2005

Samoa's Parliament is without an opposition party after Speaker Toleafoa Fa'afisi yesterday revoked recognition of the Samoa National Development Party.

This means that the Samoa Parliament now has only one political party, the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP).

The Samoa Observer reports that Speaker Toleafoa Fa'afisi told Parliament yesterday that Opposition leader Le Mamea Ropati informed him that he was stepping down as SNDP leader.

Therefore the speaker said SNDP should no longer be recognised in Parliament.

Le Mamea clarified that the letter he sent Toleafoa also informed him that the SNDP has been replaced by a new Opposition party, the Samoa Democratic United Party.

But Toleafoa said political parties cannot be automatically replaced.

The Speaker cited a decision he made in 1997 prohibiting members from switching parties during their tenure.

Under the rule an MP must remain with the party under which he/she entered Parliament.