Samoa’s Attorney-General has recalled a scathing media release questioning the integrity of the country’s judiciary.
The release demanded that the judges appointed to hear an election appeal be disqualified because of, it was claimed, the judges’ alleged potential conflicts of interest and potential favouritism.
“There is now substantive evidence before our office that is questioning the appearance of impartiality and integrity of the judiciary presiding over this matter,” the statement said.
- READ MORE: Attorney-General’s office attacks Chief Justice as Samoan political crisis deepens
- Fiame calls for Tuila’epa to end Samoa’s ‘enormous assault’
- Despite a veneer of democracy, Samoa is sliding into autocracy
- Samoan democracy hangs in the balance as a constitutional arm wrestle plays out
- Samoa’s stunning election result: on the verge of a new ruling party for the first time in 40 years
- Samoa incumbent leader needs to ‘get a grip’, says PM-elect Fiame
- FAST heading back to court to try and resolve political impasse in Samoa
- Other Samoan political crisis reports on Asia Pacific Report
- RNZ’s live updates
- The Pacific Newsroom’s updates
- What you need to know about the Samoa crisis
- The Samoa Observer editorial – Swearing-in strengthens nation’s foundation
The release added that it was also apparent that the FAST party leader was a close relative of the Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese.
But last evening, a brief statement was sent out in the Attorney-General’s name, which said the release was not authorised and apologised for what it called an unfortunate situation.
Tuila’epa offers dialogue with FAST – but still wants new poll
Samoa’s caretaker prime minister said he and his Human Rights Protection Party had held out “an olive branch” to the majority Faatuatua I Le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party so that the political impasse could be resolved.
On his weekly TV3 programme, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi reached out to FAST’s leadership for a dialogue to resolve matters.
But it came with a caveat – if the HRPP withdraws petitions in the courts, and FAST does so too, the country can go back to the polls.
“That is what it is now, and it is not hard trying to resolve what’s happening. We can easily withdraw our petitions from the court and we should go back to the polling booths,” said Tuila’epa.
That is despite FAST winning the April 9 election by a single seat.
Tuila’epa added that the last resort was the court, but with the recent judgements by the judiciary HRPP did not believe in their independence anymore.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.