3 Jul 2009

Samoa's Tautua Party says it's a step closer to being an opposition party

11:23 am on 3 July 2009

Samoa's Tautua Party says it's a step closer to gaining a voice as an opposition party after a supreme court decision allowing nine ousted members of parliament to return to their seats.

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.

Spokesman for the Tautua Party, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi says the group of independent MPs will formalise their opposition party now that the Speaker's decision to eject them from parliament and the threat of by-elections has been quashed by the court.

"It means that we are here now to stay for good and we are now seriously looking at registering our party formally, outside of Parliament."

Lealailepule says his group will be back in their seats in August when parliament resumes and will be talking to their lawyer soon about whether to proceed with legal claims for compensation.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says 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.