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An urgent legal challenge against a shock proclamation by the Samoan head of state is being heard in the Supreme Court Chambers in Apia.

Without explanation, the Head of State Tuimalealiifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi announced he was suspending tomorrow’s sitting of Parliament.

The opposition FAST party had been expected to secure a majority of seats when the assembly sat.

Samoan Head of State's proclamation 22 May 2021
The Samoan Head of State’s proclamation on 22 May 2021 suspending the opening of Parliament tomorrow. Image: APR screenshot

The FAST’s lawyer, Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu, told the Samoa Observer the suspension was unlawful and the party was seeking court orders to allow Parliament to re-convene tomorrow.

RNZ Pacific’s correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia is at the Supreme Court and said police were covering all the entry points.

He said police had told him and other media that they could not enter the Supreme Court compound.

He said eventually a court official explained to the officers that the media could come onto the compound and wait in the car park.

Autagavaia said this was the first time in his many years of reporting that the Supreme Court had sat on a Sunday.

There were also reports that Court of Appeal judges were on standby, awaiting the outcome of today’s challenge.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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