The Australian prime minister has welcomed a decision by Samoa’s Court of Appeal that found the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party would lead the government of Samoa.
Scott Morrison issued a statement on Friday to congratulate the incoming prime minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, on the outcome of a recent ruling by the Samoan Court of Appeal.
The 23 July decision recognised the validity of the FAST party’s swearing in as the government of Samoa earlier this year in May. The swearing-in ceremony was held outside the nation’s parliament when the FAST party, which won by a small margin, was locked outside of the building by its caretaker government.
Honoured to speak with Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Samoa’s new PM. Australia sends warm congratulations & wishes you every success. I look forward to working with you on a relationship that is important & strong. As a Pacific family we will face the challenges of COVID together. 🇦🇺🇼🇸 pic.twitter.com/lGJlnrzaRi
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) July 24, 2021
“We commend the institutions of the Samoan Government and the Samoan people for their patience and for allowing the democratic, constitutional and legal processes to take their proper course,” Morrison said.
“Following this final decision of the Court of Appeal it is important that all parties in Samoa respect the rule of law and the democratic process and comply with the directions of the court. We look forward to all Samoa’s elected members participating actively in the new parliament.”
A three-judge panel of the Samoan Court of Appeal, comprising Chief Justice Perese, Justice Tuatagaloa, and Justice Tuala Warren, delivered their decision on Friday afternoon.
“The practical consequence of the declaration is that the FAST party, having been constitutionally sworn in on May 24, are entitled to take office,” the ABC reports the decision said.
Local reports from Samoa suggest that the three-month political impasse may not yet be over, with the country’s caretaker prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, announcing that he will challenge the court decision.
Tuilaepa said he would meet with the caucus of his Human Rights Protection Party at the weekend to plan a way forward.
Morrison added that Australia was looking forward to working with Mata’afa’s government to strengthen the partnership between the two nations. Mata’afa is first female prime minister of Samoa.