16 Jun 2009

Banned Samoa Tautua Party MPs evicted from House

1:34 pm on 16 June 2009

Samoa's Speaker of Parliament, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua, has ordered members of the Tautua Samoa political party to leave parliament just as the house is about to begin debating the 2009-2010 financial year budget.

The group's nine seats were declared void by the Speaker but the nine members still entered the house and took their seats.

A former HRPP MP, Palusalue Fa'apo II, asked the speaker for a chance to speak about the ruling, but he was told it was not allowed.

The speaker then asked the house sergeant to escort the members out.

Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says actions this morning resulted in an awkward silence and there are now only four MPs opposing the ruling party as the budget is debated.

"There's a number of other independent MPs still opposing parliament. Four of them are in the opposition right now. If you are looking at them having a huge opposition voice in the current debate of the next year's financial budget, it's a very small voice of the opposition now, because of the nine MPs' seats being vacant."

The Tautua Samoa party members insisted they have not been officially informed of the ruling but the speaker told them notification of the dissolution of their seats was in the government newspaper, Savali.