Toeolesulusulu secures Aana Alofi No. 4
Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party's Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster has officially secured the Aana Alofi No. 4 seat following a Supreme Court ruling that the petition filed against him is withdrawn and dismissed.
The caretaker Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai agreed to withdraw his petition against the elected Aana Alofi No. 4 Member-elect in line with the request of his constituency last week and was granted leave to file affidavits on the withdrawal and publicly advertise.
Afamasaga ran under the banner of Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.)
Toeolesulusulu also withdrew his counter-petition filed against the caretaker Minister and was ruled dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday.
"The Courts reviewed all the documents you have filed, directly the motion for leave to withdraw as filed by the petitioner as well as the affidavit in support and the publication," Justice Vui Clarence Nelson said.
"And also the motion from the respondent for leave to withdraw the counter-petition and supporting affidavit as well as affidavit verifying publication.
"The Court notes that the application has been properly made pursuant to Section 131 of the Electoral Act for the withdrawal of the petitioner's petition.
"Further that the application has been advertised as required by the election petition seven days have elapsed since those publications and no notice has been received from any persons desirous of being such as a petitioner or co-petitioner.
"Accordingly, [the Court] orders that the petition and counter-petition are withdrawn and dismissed."
Last week, prior to the matter going before the Court, elderly men from the Aana Alofi No. 4 constituencies pleaded with Afamasaga to reconsider his decision to pursue the electoral challenge.
An elderly matai told the crowd in the presence of Afamasaga and Toeolesulusulu that they both hold the same title of “Toeolesulusulu” and are from the same family.
He then reminded the politicians that the constituency has decided through the polls and the matter before the Court would be of their own doing and not representative of the constituency’s voice.
Speaking outside the courtroom on Wednesday, Toeolesulusulu thanked Afamasaga for his decision and acknowledged the support of the constituency and their families.
In an interview with the media, the caretaker minister said he was moved after seeing his constituency and families at the courthouse.
Not only that, he said, he is also mindful of the current political situation and has decided to withdraw and give his support to Toeolesulusulu for this parliamentary term.
Asked if there are any conditions attached to his decision to drop the legal challenge, the caretaker minister said "no".
A former M.P. Toeolesulusulu has now secured the seat for the next five years as the Member-elect for the Aana Alofi No. 4 constituency.
He recently resigned as an elected Cabinet Minister of the F.A.S.T. party following a traffic offence where he was charged for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.