7 May 2008

Samoa's speaker tells independents they cannot form party

4:59 pm on 7 May 2008

Samoa's parliamentary speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua, has ruled that the 13 MPs who declared they were forming a new political party last week are to remain independent members of parliament.

The speaker's ruling came a day after the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, called for by-elections in the seats of the 13 members because forming a new party would breach the standing order requirements.

He argued that they were elected as independents and were to remain so until the end of the term.

Tolofuaivalelei says the formation of the new party would be invalid as the speaker would have to be informed of the name of the party and its leader.

The speaker did not allow a debate over his ruling.