Uphold democracy, law: Aus, N.Z.

By James Robertson 24 May 2021, 12:00AM

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has called upon Samoa to support democracy and called on “others to do the same” while expressing her faith in the judiciary. 

Speaking on TVNZ breakfast a short time ago, Ms. Ardern said she had been observing the weekend’s events, since the Head of State announced a suspension of Parliament intended sitting today.

“Here in New Zealand we have complete faith in Samoa’s institutions and that includes its judiciary which has been playing a very strong role in interpreting its view in what needs to happen after the election,” Ms. Ardern said.

“And we also support Samoa’s democracy and we would call on others to do the same.

“It’s a very difficult crossroads for Samoa

“Our call would be to maintain and uphold the rule of law and that democratic outcome.

She hesitated when asked by broadcaster John Campbell if her remarks were aimed directly at caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

“Well … everyone all those who hold an interest.

“That extends across every level of society. You’re seeing a call for cool calm heads from those who hold chiefly and orator status within Samoa and those who hold that wisdom calling for that sense of calm as they make their way through this process.

We acknowledge their role in this process.

We have faith in their institutions.

“They are strong institutions.”

The questions came after the courts’ third intervention on Sunday to overturn attempts to halt Parliament from sitting concluded on Sunday with the Supreme Court again ruling that Parliament be allowed to convene.

But the Parliament’s caretaker Speaker, who has not been elected to the XVII Parliament expected to convene today, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa'afisi, said that, on his orders, Parliament would not convene until further orders by the Head of State. 

“We’ve been keeping a very close eye; over the weekend I was in touch with some of our [cabinet] Ministers who know Samoa well,” Ms. Ardern said. 

“[They] were able to provide a translation of some of the more immediate messages that were being sent out.”

Later on another of the region's power players, Australia, weighed in on the situation.

On Monday afternoon following the Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) party's encounter with the Legislative Clerk outside a locked Parliament House, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, took to Twitter calling for the law to be expected. 

"Australia values our close friendship with Samoa," she wrote in a tweet. 

"It is important that all parties respect the rule of law and democratic processes. 

"We have faith in Samoa’s institutions including the judiciary. #SamoaElections2021."

By James Robertson 24 May 2021, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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