La’auli’s letter to the Speaker was not a resignation

Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi and La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao when the MP resigned from Parliament 30 June 2020.

 

By Lagi Keresoma

“Yesterday, La’auli hand delivered his letter to the Speaker that said he was not submitting a written resignation given the wish of his constituency not to resign. But had chosen to register a new political party at the end of this month by which his seat shall become vacant.”

 

APIA, SAMOA – 17 JULY 2020: MP La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polata’ivao handed over a letter to the Speaker of Parliament yesterday, but the letter was not a resignation. The long awaited letter was to effect the MPs resignation from parliament following his surprise verbal resignation 30 June.

Under the Constitution, an MP has to submit a written resignation under his/her own writing. However, La’auli offered his verbal resignation in the middle of a tense exchange over a report of the Privileges Committee of Parliament that found the MP had breached the privileges and recommended he be suspended for three months without pay.

After the MP left Parliament, the Prime Minister moved a motion to require La’auli submit his resignation in writing, but the motion did not give a timeframe for the resignation to be submitted.

Last week, Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi wrote to La’auli to submit his written resignation.

Yesterday, La’auli hand delivered his letter to the Speaker that said he was not submitting a written resignation, given the wish of his constituency not to resign. He also told the Speaker that he had chosen to register a new political party at the end of this month by which his seat shall become vacant, in accordance with the Electoral Act.

The new political party has yet to be registered. However preparations for a by-election are underway which means the Speaker has already given the writ that the MP has resigned.

Last week, La’auli told the media that he was leaving parliament in his own terms and had chosen to leave parliament by fulfilling the second wish of his constituency, and that was to register a new political party.