SAMOA’S RULING PARTY RETURNING TO POWER March 15, 2001

SAMOA’S RULING PARTY RETURNING TO POWER

APIA, Samoa (March 15, 2001 – Agence France-Presse)---Samoa’s ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) was on track to return to power here Thursday as the Fono or Parliament sat for the first time since general elections.

Many Samoans had expected the assembly to vote for a prime minister but on Wednesday Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele told AFP he had already received the warrant to lead from Head of State Malietoa Tanumafili II.

He claimed he had majority support in the 49-seat assembly.

This proved to be the case here Thursday morning when the Fono voted 28-21 for the HRPP nominee Toleafoa Faafisi as speaker.

He defeated Aeau Peniamina who was nominated by Samoa National Development Party.

HRPP has ruled since 1982 and in the last five-year term held 36 of the parliamentary seats.

Michael Field New Zealand/South Pacific Correspondent Agence France-Presse E-mail: afp.nz@clear.net.nz Phone: (64 21) 688438 Fax: (64 21) 694035 Website: http://www.afp.com/english/ 

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