SAMOA COURT REINSTATES 9 DISMISSED LAWMAKERS

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Speaker’s actions reversed, new political party upheld

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 2, 2009) – Samoa’s Supreme Court has quashed the ruling by the parliament’s speaker declaring nine parliamentary seats for Tautua Samoa party vacant.

The speaker, Tolofuiaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, argued that forming a party during the parliamentary term was a breach of standing orders.

In his decision, the Chief Justice, Patu Falefatu Sapolu, ordered the nine MPs to be returned to parliament and the by-elections to be cancelled because the speakers ruling was wrong under section 15 of the Electoral Act.

The Tautua Samoa party is now considering whether to continue its legal claim for more than five million US dollars against the speaker.

The Prime Minister is holding a news conference later this afternoon.

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