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New Samoan parliament to meet for first time

Samoa Parliament building
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — The Samoan Parliament will meet for the first time since before the April general election, on September 14.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa announced on Wednesday that the budget for the next financial year would be tabled until then.

She said the budget would be presented by the Ministry of Finance to Cabinet on Monday.

  A big question is what will happen to elected members of the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) who have yet to be sworn in.

The FAST government has indicated that it will be up to the Parliamentary Speaker on the swearing in of the opposition MPs.

But HRPP leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has written to the Speaker saying all HRPP elected members want to be sworn in by the Head of State.

Fiame said the 26 sworn-in MPs of her party, which has the single majority of the 51-seat Parliament are the only ones being sent letters by the speaker for the next Parliament session.

She said the speaker is the only person under law who can carry out the swearing in of MPs and the head of state.

Fiame said this shows Tuilaepa continues to reject the Court of Appeal ruling in July, which declared her party the legitimate government and the swearing in ceremony under a tent outside Parliament on May 24 to be lawful.