FAST Rejects Head of State Decision for New Elections

Photo: Maina Vai, SGN.

In a press statement this evening, Honourable Fiame Naomi Mataafa has declared the FAST party’s rejection of a decision by the Head of State to call fresh elections for Samoa.

Fiame says the decision was made known to her at a meeting this morning between herself, the Caretaker Prime Minister and the Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II.

At that meeting, the Head of State made known his intention to take Samoa back to the polls,  a mere month away from its 9th April general elections.

According to Fiame the Head of State had told them he has been observing the nation since the general election, and the reason for calling fresh elections, was because the nation was in a state of dissaray.

In a press statement aired live at 5pm Tuesday evening, Fiame questioned the timing of the Head of State’s decision, and questioned the constitutionality of such a decision before the expiration of 45 days as given in Article 52 of the Constitution.

The former Deputy Prime Minister questioned the integrity of the decision which sabotages current Court proceedings over a FAST motion against the decision to declare an additional Member of Parliament. A 52nd member of the Legislative Assembly was declared by the Head of State as a warrant of election issued four days after the official results.

Statement by Fiame

“There is a 26-26 deadlock and that is a result of a decision and action taken by the Electoral Commissioner and signed by the Head of State…that decision has been challenged and the hearing is set down for tomorrow before the Supreme Court who are likely to give their decision promptly given the significance  of the issue,” said the FAST party leader…

“Why would the Head of State not wait for that decision to come out before acting?” she asked.

“Secondly the Head of State must call Parliament by the 45th day after the General Election under Article 52 of the Constitution..”

“It is at that session that either (a), I can confirm that I have the support of majority of the members of Parliament and can be sworn in as Prime Minister or (b), it can be confirmed that there is a 26-26 equality of votes for myself as leader of FAST and whoever the leader of HRPP will be at that particular time..”

“It is at that specific time that the Head of State can confirm the swearing of a new Government or can confirm that no one and no party has the majority within Parliament and can then call (a) an adjournment to adjourn the session and await the outcome of the electoral petitions or (b) call for fresh elections.”

“The suggested cause of action for which he is clearly taking the advice of the caretaker Prime Minister is to preempt and undermine the decision of the Supreme Court before it has been made, and to preempt and undermine the actual votes of all the members of Parliament who were declared as winners in the official count released by the Electoral Commissioner…these proposed actions are wrong, these proposed actions are unlawful, these proposed actions threaten and undermine the rule of law..” said the leader of FAST.

Fiame says that she has written a response to the Head of State asking him to allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the challenge before it.

“If successful, the issue is resolved and the numbers return to 26-25 as voted for by the people of Samoa.”

“If unsuccessful then the Head of State is required to call Parliament by the 24th of May 2021 where a formal count can be taken of all the members elected by the official count to determine if any leader has the majority. If no leader has the majority then the session can be adjourned to await the outcome of electoral petitions or then and only then, should a new election be called by the Head of State.”

“I do not consider that the Head of State has the constitutional power to call a new election at this time,” said the former Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa.

At press time (7:30pm), the media are outside the residence of the Head of State, awaiting a press conference called for 6:30 this evening.