Today in History – 23 July 2021. After more than three months of uncertainy and political turmoil, the Court of Appeal declared the FAST party as the new Government of Samoa.
The Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision of the Supreme Court and declared the tent swearing-in of 26 elected members of the Legislative Assembly to have been lawful and constitutional.
Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese as President of Samoa’s Court of Appeal handed down the decision on a Friday afternoon to a packed courtroom, with Justices Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren and Niava Mata Tuatagaloa also presiding.
“For the avoidance of doubt this means that there has been lawful government in Samoa since 24 May 2021, and that lawful government is the FAST party which holds the majority of the seats in Parliament”.
The Court of Appeal had effectively ended the four-month long political crisis in Samoa by stating that the Faatuatua i Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) political party was officially the new Government.
The Court of Appeal also upheld all decisions made by the Caretaker government up to that date, but also stressed that Samoa would no longer consider Hon Tuilaepa’s HRPP led government as the Government of Samoa.
“We note that the practical consequence of the declaration is that the FAST party having been constitutionally sworn in on 24 May 2021 are entitled to take office. However, for the avoidance of doubt and confusion, although the FAST government were entitled to take power on the 24th May 2021, we consider that they should take power from the date and time of this judgment”.
“We consequently validate the Caretaker Government actions up until the time and date of this judgment and note that from this point, the Court does not recognise them as the Government of the Independent State of Samoa, because of the fact that there is a new Government.”