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Samoa's FAST Party forced to withdraw Supreme Court challenge

The lawyers for the FAST Party in Samoa have been forced to withdraw a Supreme Court challenge after discovering they had the wrong information.

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Samoa's constitution states 10% of all seats need to be held by women, but the election result is below that threshold, so an extra seat has been created and given to the next woman in line. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver's 6pm report on this story can be watched above.

They had wanted the rival HRPP winning candidate in the Fa'asaleleaga 5 constituency, Peseta Vaifou Tevagaena, declared ineligible to sit in parliament, because of a criminal conviction that hadn't been disclosed to the Electoral Commission.But the lawyers today asked the Supreme Court to withdraw the challenge after realising they had had their wires crossed.

Our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, said the charges Peseta had faced carried penalties that would not have barred him from entering parliament.

"He was convicted of dangerous driving causing injuries but the maximum penalty for that is two years in jail or a fine. He was convicted and fined on that dangerous driving causing injury," he said.

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Auckland University’s Dr Damon Salesa says Samoa’s April election was like nothing the country had seen before. Source: Breakfast

Meanwhile FAST has been directed by the court to re-enter its submission challenging the appointment of a sixth woman to the new parliament.

Autagavaia said the judges told the FAST lawyers they need to specify the grounds for their challenge, they were also told by the judges to amend the motion and to include that.

"So that is another matter that needs to be tidied up, so hopefully by Monday next week we will have everything settled, we tidy up the house and begin the proceedings," he said.

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FAST Party says Samoa Electoral Commissioner's action was 'unconstitutional'

FAST has asserted that with five women elected in the poll two weeks ago the constitutional provisions to have at least 10 per cent of parliament's seats filled by women were satisfied.

The difficulty arises with the fractional increase in the size of parliament to 51 seats, meaning that those five women only constitute 9.8 per cent of the seats.

rnz.co.nz