Tuilaepa admits defeat after Head of State’s declaration

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: Screengrab

Samoa’s former prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has finally conceded defeat in the April 9 election.

During a TV interview on Sunday night he said he looked forward to working with the new FAST government.

Tuilaepa said he has asked Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa to give him and his government seven days to move out of his office.

Even at the end of last week Tuilaepa was refusing to concede that he lost the election.

The concession followed the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi congratulating Fiame, who is now the first female Prime Minister of Samoa and her FAST party.

In a televised statement, Tuimalealiifano called on the convening of Parliament so all elected members can be sworn in.

Tuimalealiifano defended himself and said what has been said about him is not easy to take.

“I humbly declare that I do understand the duties of the Head of State, especially in relation to the Courts because I worked as a police officer, I also worked in the office of the Attorney General. I also worked as a lawyer, and it has been 53 years since I have worked and served the Government,” he declared.

He said he is receiving advice from the Office of the Attorney General and senior lawyers in Samoa.

“I also understand customs and traditions of Samoa because I have been a matai for over 40 years; I am a Tama-a-Aiga serving my family and village.”

Tuimalealiifano said he is saddened by the part of the decision that states he does not understand the powers of the office of the Head of State, and the powers of the Courts. Tuimalealiifano says the role of the Head of State is not just a ceremonial one as stated in the decision, but one that has been active during the State of Emergency in signing off on SOE orders, and now also in approving Government budget spending during the political crisis.

Both the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and Australia, Scott Morrison, have congratulated Fiame on becoming Samoa’s new leader.

Samoa’s new Government is expected to call parliament this week, possibly on Wednesday.

The new cabinet spent much of the weekend in meetings.

Resource: RNZ