10 Jul 2009

Tautua Samoa calls for Speaker's resignation

11:00 am on 10 July 2009

The Tautua Samoa party has called on the ruling Human Rights Protection Party to sack the parliamentary speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua.

The call comes after a court ruling last week which annulled the dissolution of Tautua Samoa party's nine seats as well as an order from the speaker to seize the salaries and allowances of the nine MPs.

The deputy chairman of the party and former government minister, Palusalue Fa'apo II, has told reporters the speaker has also not accepted the court ruling by stopping the Tautua Samoa MPs from attending parliamentary committee meetings where new proposed legislations are considered together with annual reports of government ministries and corporations.

Meanwhile, it is now clear from the written decision of Chief Justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu, released yesterday that the decision of the speaker to disqualify the nine MPs and calling for by-elections to be outside the scope of the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.

The Chief Justice has said it should also be normal practice that when the constitutionality of an Act of Parliament is challenged in court, the Attorney General be invited to appear.

He says it does not seem appropriate for a lawyer from the private bar to defend the constitutionality of a provision of an Act of the parliament of the country.

The speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Lei'ataua, was represented by a private law firm in the case brought against him by the Tautua Samoa party.