SAMOA MP LOSES MATAI TITLE, POSSIBLY SEAT

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Must have chiefly title to stay in parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 17, 2009) – A parliamentary by-election in Samoa is likely to be held following a Court of Appeal decision that dismissed a Lands and Titles court ruling.

The title ruling involved one of the two current MPs for Safata constituency, Tuia Paepae Letoa, who was elected as one of the holders of the chiefly matai title Tuia of Vaie’e village.

The court of appeal has ordered the Tuia title dispute to be heard again in November.

But under the provisions of the Electoral Act the MP, Tuia Paepae, is disqualified from holding the parliamentary seat because the Tuia title has been stripped from him and one other member of his extended family as a result of the appeal’s court ruling.

A government source says the chief executive officer of the Ministry of Justice will notify the parliamentary speaker this week of the decision along with the Head of State.

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