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What La’auli and the Speaker’s letters actually say

Former Member of Parliament, La’auli Leuatea Schmidt, had informed the Speaker of Parliament, Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi, he was prepared to vacate his seat in Parliament once he registered a new political party.

This was the gist of a letter he wrote to the Speaker on 16 July 2020, in response to an earlier letter from the Speaker dated 3 July 2020, demanding his written resignation.

Both letters, written in Samoan, have been released publically by Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who has rubbished claims that La’auli has been forced into a by-election without a written resignation.

Speaking to the media, Tuilaepa brandished a copy of La’auli’s letter and said that it was a resignation letter. 

La’auli, on the other hand, insists that it was not.  

The Samoa Observer has translated both letters into English and it appears that La'auli is correct. 

 “As recorded in the Parliamentary Hansard, I must inform you of the situation with regards to the statement you made before Parliament on 30th June 2020, where you officially resigned as the Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3,” Speaker Leaupepe wrote.  

“For your information, a Parliament resolution was reached for you to present a written resignation following the verbal resignation you presented before Parliament.

“I request therefore that you submit your written resignation as approved by resolution of Parliament on 30th June 2020, and it must be addressed to the Speaker of Parliament and signed by you.”


The Speaker's letter to La'auli, in which he requests a written copy of the former Minister's resignation.

In response, La’auli did not dispute his decision in Parliament, when he exited the chamber while a report by the Privileges and Ethics Committee into his conduct was being discussed.

“In all honesty, Mr. Speaker, the resignation I verbally provided in the House came from the heart,” La’auli wrote in response. 

“My constituency has since instructed me not to submit a written resignation because of their wish for me not to resign. Your Honour, Mr. Speaker, I am preparing to register a new political party, as my constituency had instructed me to do before the end of July. And that is what I will do.

“With respect to the electoral laws, once I establish a new political party, I will have to vacate the seat and that will open the door for a by-election.”


La'auli's letter was sent to the Speaker and copied in his electorate: Gagaifomauga No. 3

La’auli’s new political party has not yet been established.

Last week, Speaker Leaupepe announced that La’auli had officially submitted his resignation. He has also issued a writ for a by-election to the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.

Despite disagreeing with the decision, La'auli has decided against pursuing the matter saying he has accepted the decision and he will contest the by-election, scheduled for the end of August. 

The following are translated copies of the letters:

03 July 2020

Susuga Hon LAAULI Polataivao Leuatea Schmidt

Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3

Afioga e,

 Resignation from being a representative of a Constituency in Parliament 

 Malo le soifua manuia. Malo le lagi e mama i lau Afioga i le Sui Mamalu.

I believe you are one of the most senior members of Parliament with a wealth of experience when it comes to Parliamentary matters and procedures. I do not doubt your contribution to upholding the dignity and integrity of the Legislative Assembly; from the time you were the Speaker of Parliament up until now, the XVI Sitting.    

I do not question your support in the performance of my role as the Speaker, in providing guidance during Parliamentary proceedings, wherever, whenever needed.

As recorded in the Parliamentary Hansard, I must inform you of the situation with regards to the statement you made before Parliament on 30th June 2020, where you officially resigned as the Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3.  

Your resignation was not a decision made by Parliament, it was on your own free will as you stated in the House.

Because of this, and in accordance with Subject 46 of the Constitution of Samoa, the Legislative Assembly must follow procedures with regards to how a member can resign from being a Member of Parliament. 

The conditions in Section 16 of the Electoral Act are also quite clear with regards to a situation where a member vacates the seat for a constituency in Parliament.

For your information, a Parliament resolution was reached for you to present a written resignation following the verbal resignation you presented before Parliament.

I request therefore that you submit your written resignation as approved by resolution of Parliament on 30th June 2020, and it must be addressed to the Speaker of Parliament and signed by you. 

With due respect,

 __________________________

Hon LEAUPEPE Taimaaiono Toleafoa Faafisi

Speaker of Parliament 

Copy: Susuga Hon TUILAEPA Dr Sailele Malielegaoi

Prime Minister 

La'auli’s response 

16 July 2020

Speaker of Parliament

Afioga Toleafoa Leaupepe Apulu Fa’afisi

Maota Fono o Samoa

Mulinu’u

RE: Resignation as a Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No. 3

Lau Afioga,

I trust this letter will find you in good health, Honourable Speaker. I thank you for your letter of the 3rd July 2020, seeking a written resignation from me from Samoa’s Parliament.  

I don’t want to go anymore into the details of this matter. I trust you understood the resignation I offered in the House that day.

I had asked for your opinion, and sought refuge in you when I knew the Prime Minister was doing bad things and conspiring against me. As I had said, this is not a case of smoke and mirrors, nor is it that I am saying one thing and trying to do another.

In all honesty, Mr. Speaker, the resignation I verbally provided in the House came from the heart.

My constituency has since instructed me not to submit a written resignation because of their wish for me not to resign. 

Your Honour Mr. Speaker, I am preparing to register a new political party, as my constituency had instructed me to do before the end of July. And that is what I will do.

With respect to the electoral laws, once I establish a new political party, I will have to vacate the seat and that will open the door for a by-election.

With my utmost respect, this will be the most peaceful way, the most humble way for me to officially resign from Parliament, and vacate my seat with respect to the electoral laws. 

Mr. Speaker, the nation of Samoa has heard me apologise profusely for my shortcomings concerning our relationship.

Toleafoa, forgive me; God knows my heart and the respect I have for our relationship. Thank you for giving me many opportunities during the heat of exchanges in the House.

But I will look to the future, seek guidance and refuge from God, and prepare for the by-election with gladness.

May God bless you Mr. Speaker and the Parliament of Samoa.

With my respect, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fossie Schmidt

Faipule – Itumalo Gagaifomauga No. 3.

Cc: Itumalo Gagaifomauga No. 3.


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