The FAST Government held a thanksgiving candlelight service early this morning at Mulinu’u in front of the Legislative Assembly building, the very same area where their administration took the oath of office under a tent, when they were locked out of Parliament, this day a year ago.
The day where Samoans here and abroad saw members of the Judiciary marched down to Fono building after orders of the court for the swearing in to proceed as mandated by the Constitution within 45 days after the General Election.
In attendance at the Thanksgiving ceremony, are the Faatuatua ile Atua Samoa ua Tasi members, led by Samoa’s first female Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Chairman and Cabinet Minister Laauli Leuatea Schmidt, the former Head of State, his Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese, Cabinet Ministers and FAST MP’s, members of the Maliatoa family; FAST lawyers, Matafeo George Latu and his wife, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu and staunch supporters of the FAST political party.
On the morning of 24 May 2021, FAST MPs and supporters arrived at Parliament to find police surrounding the building and the doors locked.
Then Clerk of Parliament refused them entry, and in the afternoon, FAST Party MPs and Ministers were sworn into office by the Speaker Li’o Papalii Taeu Masipa’u.
The General Election of 9 April, 2021 resulted in a 25/25 tie between the ruling Human Rights Protection Party and former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi and the FAST party led by Fiame with the remaining seat held by then independent, now Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio.
The next day 20 April 2021, the Samoan electoral commission declared the HRPP’s Aliimalemanu Alofa Tu’uau elected in an extra seat due to the requirement that a minimum of 10% of seats in parliament must be held by women, with Tuuau being the female candidate who most narrowly missed being elected.
The next day Ponifasio announced he would join FAST, creating a 26–26 deadlock. On the evening of 4 May 2021, the O le Ao o le Malo purported to dissolve Parliament and ordered new elections for 21 May 2021.
Both the purported dissolution and the decision to appoint Tuuau were challenged in court, and on 17 May 2021, the court overturned both decisions, declaring them unconstitutional and void.
The court upheld the election results and ordered parliament to meet within 45 days of the original poll.
On 21 May 2021, the Appeal’s Court declined to stay the Supreme Court’s ruling over Tuuau’s appointment, confirming FAST’s parliamentary majority.