Saturday, July 04, 2009

Democracy wins in Samoa

Last month, I blogged about some troubling news from Samoa. The Speaker of the Samoan Fono evicted the opposition from the House, disqualifying nine MPs from their seats for the "crime" of establishing a new political party. It was a classic example of how Samoa's Human Rights Protection Party has retained its twenty-year grip on power. But fortunately, it has been defeated. The Samoan Supreme Court has overturned the Speaker's ruling and cancelled the by-elections as the decision did not comply with the Electoral Act, and the MPs will resume their seats when Parliament reconvenes in August. They are now considering whether to sue the Speaker for damages. Meanwhile, the government is considering further amendments to the Electoral Act to prevent new parties from rising. Because obviously that's the last thing anyone would want in a democracy.