Friday, March 19, 2010

No opposition allowed in Samoa

For the past two years, the Samoan government has been trying to evict its opposition from Parliament. Yesterday, they finally succeeded, invoking a new anti-party-hopping law to force three opposition MPs to resign from Parliament:

The Samoa government’s new amendments to the Electoral act has now become law, leading to three members of the Tautua Samoa party stepping down, leaving their seats vacant.

The new law, endorsed by the head of state last week, requires that all MPs remain loyal to the political party they entered Parliament in on, and has been described by the government as a measure to prevent party hopping.

The Tautua Samoa party was formed during this parliamentary term.

The RNZ story is incorrect - the three MPs are not members of Tatua Samoa. But they openly support it, and under the new law, that is enough. As a result, there will be by-elections in the next couple of months.

Forcibly breaking up opposition parties, and forcing its elected opponents to resign from Parliament: that is how Samoa's Human Rights Protection Party has stayed in power for the past 20 years.