Former Speaker La'auli resigns from H.R.P.P.
Announcing his decision to leave the ruling Human Rights Protection Party to become Independent, the senior Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga no3, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, says he will form a new political party.
The former Cabinet Minister, who resigned from his Ministerial portfolio so he can clear his name from criminal charges, said his decision to leave the party is to obey his constituency’s wishes.
During a press conference on Monday, La’auli said his constituency met last month and decided that he should leave the H.R.P.P. and set up a new political party.
“That was the decision [from my constituency] last month but I had held on to it until a later time because I feel that we should not be distracted from the pandemic,” said the former Speaker.
La’auli acknowledged the Samoa Observer for going out to his constituency to talk to the elders who revealed their resolution for him to resign from H.R.P.P.
“[This] press conference is to announce the decision from my constituency and I will be making an official announcement in parliament in two weeks,” he said.
“I will not hide behind the shadow of the tree on the instructions I was given, I will be leaving [H.R.P.P.] to set up a new political party.”
In the Constitution, it stipulates that a member’s seat shall become vacant where in certain circumstances he/she resigns or withdraws from or changes his or her political party.
The Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio, in previous correspondence with the Samoa Observer, confirmed that a seat would be vacated if an M.P. attached to a political party decides to leave and switch to another party in the upcoming election.
However, Faimalo made it clear that if an M.P. gets kicked out by a party they can become an independent M.P.
“You will only lose your seat if you resign from the party or hold yourself out as a representative or member of a political party or an organisation that has political aims and desire to take part in an election,” he said.
After more than a year-long ruction with the leader of H.R.P.P. and Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, about his membership with the political party, La’auli has finally put an end to the matter.
Although Tuilaepa had continuously told the media that La’auli had resigned from the H.R.P.P. for voting against Constitutional amendment bills in 2019, the senior M.P. had insisted that only he and his constituency could make the decision to leave.
At the time Tuilaepa said the H.R.P.P. executive had endorsed La’auli’s vote against the Constitutional amendment by Government as his resignation from the party.
Just last week Tuilaepa said he had tried to soften the public blow on the issue, but the truth is Laauli was sacked by the party when he did not support a Constitution amendment bill 2019.
Meanwhile, La’auli said the reason he held onto the party that his late father, Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, was a founding member of is because he wanted to know what sin he had committed.
He maintained that the Prime Minister doesn’t make the decision for him to leave the party, as it is the decision of his constituency should they wish him to part from it.
But now that his constituency has ordered him to continue his service as an Independent M.P, La’auli said he will obey.
“I have been patient for so long,” said the M.P.
“If my constituency had not instructed me to leave I wouldn’t have done so. My heart is with my constituency and my country and you know the reason why I was treated this way is because I had opposed the bill…”
In a recent interview with one of the senior matai from Fagae’e of Gagaeifomauga no3 constituency, Polataivao Pouvalu, said the faletolu supports the decision to leave.
“The decision we came up with is to advise our Member of Parliament to move away from the H.R.P.P and make an official farewell speech in Parliament," he said.
Polataivao admitted that the decision was not easy to make:
"As you know, we made a public announcement and told the public before that our M.P was still a member of the H.R.P.P and have also told our M.P to stay with the ruling party.
“This was last year when there were concerns that La'auli was no longer a member of the H.R.P.P.”
The senior matai said the decision from the constituency is derived from their love for their Member of Parliament, whom it was claimed the Prime Minister continued to mock.