FAST Party leader Fiame cries foul as Head of State calls new election
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa called a fresh election Tuesday (Samoa time) after the last vote failed to produce a clear victor, prompting anger from the opposition, which called the move "trickery" and "unlawful".
The Pacific island nation has been in political limbo since an April 9 election ended with the ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and fledgling opposition Fast party on 26 seats each in the 52-seat Parliament.
On Tuesday, the head of state Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi, announced that another election would be held on May 21.
Fast leader Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, who hopes to become Samoa's first female leader, accused caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi of orchestrating the election move.
"These proposed actions are wrong, these proposed actions are unlawful, these proposed actions threaten and undermine the rule of law," she said.
"The law sets out the process after an election, and we must follow this process, without diversion or trickery."
Fiame said calling an election pre-empted the outcome of an opposition legal challenge due to begin this week.
The HRPP has been in power since 1982, apart from a brief coalition period between 1986 and 1987, and Tuilaepa has held the top job for 22 years, making him one of the world's longest-serving democratically elected leaders.
An opposition challenge to the quota was set to begin in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, which would have potentially extended the political deadlock.