The May 24 swearing-in of Faatuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party members during a makeshift ceremony under a tent outside of the Parliament and the appointment of Fiame Naomi Mata’afa as prime minister-elect were unconstitutional, the Samoa Supreme Court has ruled.
In a decision released Monday, the Supreme Court, however, said FAST members may be reinstated should there continue to be obstructions to Parliament’s meeting.
Parties were ordered to convene within seven days to allow the democratic process to proceed and put an end to the nation's constitutional crisis.
The court's decision was a victory for caretaker prime minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who has been in power since 1998.
The court's decision, however, gave a clear warning for Malielegaoi and those acting on his behalf that any attempts to impede the legislative meeting will amount to contempt of court and compel. Should this happen, the court said it would invoke the principle of necessity “so that the business of the nation can proceed."
Twenty-six members of parliament under the FAST Party were forced to hold their swearing-in at the lawn after being locked out of the Parliament on the last day of the legislative assembly meeting.
The Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), which ruled the nation for about two decades, boycotted the meeting and called for new elections to break the political impasse.