Sore loser locks Samoa's first female PM out of parliament

Originally published at: Sore loser locks Samoa's first female PM out of parliament | Boing Boing


this reminds me of someone in u.s. politics. can’t quite remember who.




The “Human Rights Protection Party”?
OK, I’ll bite. That’s like a country having “democratic” in its name - you just feel that they’re protesting a little too much.

But this is genuinely a fascinating situation. The HRPP have been in power for 20 years, and tried to rig the system in their favour by creating a new seat in Parliament. The Supreme Court of the country was not impressed, and that failed. Then another MP switched their allegiance, and now we’re here.

The HRPP don’t appear to be the corrupt, fascist lunatics that I initially suspected them to be, but I suspect that they’re a bit lazy and entitled after 20 years in power. The FAST party that Fiame Naomi Mata’afa is leading is in favour of crazy things like term limits and decentralising services to serve villages better.

Of course, I may be being too generous to the Human Rights Protection Party here. :wink:

Either way, it’s fascinating to try to get a handle on a set of politics quite different to the ones I’m normally thinking about - thanks Boing Boing!


In the video where the head of their supreme court goes to door of parliament and finds it locked, why dont they just call a locksmith. Would it then be a standoff between parliament guards loyal to the former PM and current PM?


It seems the new PM is in power from a lawful and parliamentary process, under the the authority of elected MP’s. But not quite the straight line from the votes of the people to changing PM’s you normally see.


If the former PM is willing to offer armed resistance, there’s an easier way to resolve the situation. Tell them that as long as they’re willing to leave one at a time and throw out any weapons they’re carrying before they leave, they will be treated fairly. Until that time, no food and drink will be allowed to enter the building and the power will be turned off. [For added incentive, blowing the aroma of food cooking towards the building using big fans.]

I’m guessing the Parliament building was not built and supplied to withstand a siege.


Dude, where’s my democracy?


What wasn’t mentioned is that the former PM, over the past 20 years, has done his best to centralize power under him and weaken local political representation. He has lined his pockets through foreign “investments,” and allowed preeminence of Chinese banks in Samoa.

Locals in the outlying provinces have grown impatient and angry with what they view as a loss of their political voice and the continual rise of corruption in the PM and his party. They also view the presence of Chinese “investment” as a vanguard to economic annexation.

My source is a Samoan co-worker (the Chief Steward on my ship) of royal lineage. This election is a huge deal among her people.


Not quite the same as what’s going on in Samoa but for the record Trump actually DID lock the incoming President out of the White House.


Any party which refuses to cede power to the lawfully elected goverment is by definition a corrupt fascist one, while perhaps not lunatic.


Ironically (?), the rule the incumbent party is trying to rely on here is one that mandates a minimum number of women in the parliament. On the surface, I don’t see how the appointment of the additional member failed to follow that rule, but I trust the Samoan supreme court is more well-versed in these matters than I. Still, the only explanation I could find just raises further questions: this article quotes the relevant section of the constitution as saying “…10% of the Members of the [51 member] Legislative Assembly … which for the avoidance of doubt is presently 5”. So was the 51st seat added after that bit was written? Or does Samoa just constitutionally decree 5 to be 10% of 51?

It’s an exploitable loophole. Ironic that it was used to prevent a female PM, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

At least Samoa has no military, reducing the risk for serious bloodshed.

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also from that news source.

He told the Samoa Observer “I am appointed by God” so protests were futile in front of the judiciary whom he said had no bearing on his appointment.

Tuila’epa said protesters would do better “to protest through prayers on bended knees inside a church”.

Perhaps “humility” is an imperialist virtue, and…

Oh wait…

Sounds like someone needs a slap in the head with a chandal

Well it’s a difficult situation - firstly they’re both fundy religious parties - FAST is the “Faith in the One God of Samoa” party. Also the old guard actually got 55% of the vote (FAST, the newcomers, got 37%).

HRPP lost because they ran multiple candidates in some (first past the post) electorates, they were so used to always winning all the votes (been in power for 40 years) they had effectively been using the election as an HRPP primary.

It’s all confused by the Head of State who by law is chosen from one of the 4 paramount chiefs who is supposed to the independent of party politics, but really isn’t and is effectively MIA - instead the courts have been ruling in FAST’s favour.

I’m kind of in 2 minds here, FAST won, but didn’t get the most votes, after 40 years HRPP is a petty fiefdom and the country probably does deserve a change


Well this just keeps getting weirder and weirder, doesn’t it?

That was awful cocky of them. Also explains why they were so keen for a quick re-vote to resolve things, they presumably would’ve won it handily.

Incidentally, (re: my previous post) it looks like they did in fact increase the number of seats from 49 to 51 prior to this election… and I guess they just forgot or didn’t bother to update the clause that specified that a minimum of 10% of the seats was “presently” 5? And faced with the contradiction the court just opted for a really narrowly literal interpretation? Fair enough, I guess? In any event, it looks like the courts have spoken, so unless the One God of Samoa chooses to weigh in on who they would like to appoint, it kinda seems like the HRPP is out of legitimate avenues for appeal.

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Uh, the outgoing guy, while locking the rightfully elected new PM out of her office, is saying that SHE is performing an “Illegal and unlawful” act? This guy is almost nutty cuckoo as the orange blowhard, may he soon be sitting, terrified, in a jail cell.

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One thing to note - after 40 years chances are there’s no one there, on either side, or in the public service, who has ever participated in a true change of government. Even if everything was going well there would likely be a bit of making it up as they go forward - it’s the goodwill from the loser that makes a true democracy work.

It’s worth remembering that the one act that made the US democracy real was Washington’s graceful leaving when his term was up … and the thing that still might kill it is Trump’s refusal to do the same thing

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