La'auli to contest under new party banner
The former Cabinet Minister who entered parliament under the Human Rights Protection Party banner, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao will be crossing the floor to run under a new political party in the Gagaifomauga No. 3 by-election.
La’auli announced his decision to contest under the soon to be registered political party during a press conference at his Maota Samoa residence.
The M.P. for Gagaifomauga No.3 said they have “humbled themselves” and accepted the decision from the Speaker of the House declaring his seat void despite not offering a written resignation.
La’auli made it clear that in a meeting with Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Faafisi last week he handed over a letter to explain the reasons why he will not submit his written resignation.
In the same letter, La’auli said he made it clear that the reason why he will not submit the resignation is to respect the decision from his constituency not to but to setup a new party.
“It was our understanding that the registration of the new political party will then mean my seat in parliament will be vacated,” he said.
“However, as you have seen Samoa the day I handed in the letter was the day the Speaker made the decision to end my service in parliament issuing a warrant to the Electoral Commissioner for a by-election.”
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei had recently confirmed that the Speaker had issued the warrant last week after a meeting with La’auli.
“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].”
Under article 46, section 2(b) of the Constitution the seat of an M.P. shall become vacant “if the Member resigns his or her seat by writing under his or her hand addressed to the Speaker…”
La’auli disputed the events that unfolded during that meeting with the Speaker denying that he handed in a written resignation.
Despite this, the M.P. will not dwell in the past saying they have accepted the challenge to return to poll to find elect another Member of Parliament.
“To keep the matter short and to keep the peace we have accepted the decision to elect another member to continue on works for the remaining of this parliamentary term,” he added.
The former Speaker said going to the poll will not be easy for his constituents with an approximate of 700 voters from the electorate residing in Upolu.
He pointed to the costs of a voter residing in Upolu due to convenience in terms of work and education.
La’auli said a voter would spend more than $100 tala to cast their vote in the electorate taking into account the ferry and a two hours ride to the villages of Satui, Fagaee, Sasina and Aopo.
New electoral laws makes it compulsory for eligible voters to register and a compulsory vote in the electoral constituency you are registered in.
Registration for voters in the Gagaifomauga no3 constituency will be temporarily closed on Friday next week until after the by-election, the Electoral Office confirmed in a statement.