La'auli to reveal decision on Tuesday

Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, will announce on Tuesday his next course of action after the Speaker issued a warrant for a by-election in his electorate.

The former Speaker of Parliament and Cabinet Minister will hold a press conference to reveal what his next move will be, following the Speaker’s decision to declare the Gagaifomauga No. 3 seat vacant.

La'auli met with his constituency on Monday to discuss the order and declaration by the Speaker to prepare for a by-election and to declare the Gagaifomauga constituency seat vacant. 

While the Speaker has declared the seat vacant and ordered a by-election, La'auli conceded he had not written a formal resignation letter to the Speaker, which some commentators say should be the prerequisite for a by-election to be held.

The Speaker has received a letter, but from the Gagaifomauga No. 3 constituency, which outlined their views on why their M.P. should not resign and the need for him to set up a new political party.

The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei, confirmed that the Speaker issued a warrant for a by-election after La'auli met with the Speaker. 

“The Speaker has notified that La’auli has resigned and has issued a warrant to notify the Head of State that the seat is vacant,” Tiatia said last week. “It is now going through the normal procedure to issue a writ to the Electoral Commissioner [for by-election].” 

Contacted for a comment, La’auli confirmed the meeting with the Speaker but disputed reports that he offered a written resignation.

“I had met with the Speaker to inform him of a letter to explain the decision from my constituency not to resign and move to set up a new political party,” clarified La’auli.

“In setting up that new political party that will be used to vacate the seat in Parliament as required under the electoral law.

“That decision is to honour and respect the wish of my constituency to set up a new political party and to also honour my verbal resignation.” 

The outgoing M.P. and former Cabinet Minister added that he walked away from the Parliament on his own terms. 

“It is not a trick, it was from my heart,” he emphasised. 

Meanwhile a senior chief from the Gagaifomauga No. 3 constituency, Seve Avaula, said they have welcomed the call for a by-election and are "happy" to go through with it and vote La'auli back to Parliament.

Seve had also told the Samoa Observer that the three villages [Letui, Fagae'e and Sasina] were going to meet on Monday to discuss the details and talk about the by-election. 

The decision and plan by the constituency’s leaders will be revealed on Tuesday by La'auli after meeting with the constituency on Monday. 

The Electoral Office has also gone ahead with its preparations for the by-election and has released a public notice on its preparations. It will start registration on Wednesday this week.

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