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Rikkitic

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#285887 23-May-2021 15:10
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I have been following, with increasing fascination, the political machinations playing out in Samoa. If this was a country of Euro white people, it would be all over the international news. 

 

Samoa has been ruled by one party for decades. The current leader has declared he is 'ordained by god' to remain in power, and he has been clinging on with a tenacity that would put Donald Trump to shame. Normally this would be a given, as his party has won a healthy majority at every election. Except the last one. 

 

To everyone's utter astonishment, an upstart protest party headed by a woman, no less (never been one in charge there), managed to beat the incumbents with a parliamentary majority of precisely 1! According to Samoan law, this means they get to form the next government. The current ordained by god leader doesn't like that at all, and has been pulling out all the stops to try to find a way around it. His ploys strongly remind me of the Republicans in America. He tried to shift the majority in his favour by using an obscure law meant to benefit female politicians but this was struck down by the supreme court.

 

Then the official Head of State, a mainly ceremonial figure but with some powers, mysteriously decided to change a previous ruling he had made by issuing a statement that he would not summon the newly-elected Parliament, which is necessary to form the new government. He made this statement late on Saturday, which raises the suspicion that it was calculated to prevent any legal counter-measures in this conservatively religious country, where practically everything stops on Sunday.

 

But the other party was expecting something like this and was prepared for it, making an emergency appeal to the supreme court, which convened with the chief justice and two other justices today, in spite of it being a Sunday. They just announced their decision, which is that the call convening parliament was legal, and the one changing that was not. As of this moment, parliament will sit tomorrow and the new government (and first-ever female leader) will be installed. Of course the question is what those being displaced will do. In view of their actions up to now, they may not be willing to bow out gracefully.

 

I think this is an important story that deserves more coverage, though it has had some here. I like the David and Goliath aspect to it. I also find it uncomfortably similar to the struggles going on in the USA. I am rooting for the little guys (and gal!) and I hope they prevail. I should point out that I am not Samoan and have no links to that country and my summary of events may or may not be entirely correct. I just like the idea of what seems to be occurring there and I hope this turns out to be a rare case of democracy winning out against the odds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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OldGeek
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  #2711784 23-May-2021 17:16
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I think this situation has a relatively low profile because to date it has been an issue fought internally within the justice system.  There have been no reported civil reaction (such as demonstrations etc) so largely a behind-closed-doors dispute.  Watch this space though.





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linw
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  #2711964 24-May-2021 07:56
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So far no "tourists" storming the building! 

 

Yes, I was thinking America, too.


Rikkitic

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  #2711984 24-May-2021 09:09
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Unsurprisingly, those supporting the current (voted out) government are still playing games. Now the Speaker of parliament, also a member of the losing party, is refusing to convene it until the head of state issues a new order. Things are complicated by the fact that the constitution says today is the absolute deadline. They definitely are not going to go gracefully. This could turn ugly.

 

 





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Rikkitic

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  #2712275 24-May-2021 14:24
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Samoa political struggle now being described as 'coup' on RNZ.

 

 





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  #2712556 24-May-2021 18:04
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If you look at the votes cast, the now sworn in (in a tent) new government won far less of the popular vote. Their now officially defeated opposition won an absolute majority, but their FPP system delivered a coalition with a popular vote minority.

 

So it's far from a "great victory" when a popular winner loses because of a stupid system.  We saw that happen somewhere else. 

 

Throw in to the mix that neither party believe in secular principles, the winners even name themselves as believers in "the one true god" and I'd expect trouble is coming sooner or later.


Rikkitic

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  #2712567 24-May-2021 18:28
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The FAST party won according to the existing rules, just like Trump did. If people don't like that, they should campaign at the next election and change the rules. In the meantime, the rules must be respected or everyone loses. 

 

Apart from that, my personal feeling is that those defeated have acquired an outsize sense of entitlement from their years in power, and the current 'leader', who has stated it is god's will that he remain in charge, has a major psychological problem with losing, Just like Trump. It is time for a change there. Both parties claim god is on their side, so I don't think that makes much difference. Better to look for the lesser of evils.

 

 





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gzt

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  #2712573 24-May-2021 18:48
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Rikkitic: Samoa political struggle now being described as 'coup' on RNZ.

Your statement is misleading. RNZ was quoting the FAST party. The headline I see is:

"Live updates: Samoa parliament lockout a 'coup' - FAST".

Radio NZ did not describe this event as a coup.



Rikkitic

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  #2712580 24-May-2021 19:03
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gzt:
Rikkitic: Samoa political struggle now being described as 'coup' on RNZ.

Your statement is misleading. RNZ was quoting the FAST party. The headline I see is:

"Live updates: Samoa parliament lockout a 'coup' - FAST".

Radio NZ did not describe this event as a coup.

 

Read what I wrote. I did not say RNZ was doing the describing. I said RNZ was reporting it: '... now being described as 'coup' on RNZ.' I usually say what I mean. If I meant RNZ was the source, I would have said 'described as coup by RNZ.' 

 

Apart from the nit-picking, I'm glad others are interested in this story. I think it is important.

 

 





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gzt

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  #2712585 24-May-2021 19:12
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I don't understand where the caretaker government thinks it is going with this. FAST have a majority of MPs. Surely the only way the caretaker government can hold a majority in parliament is to lock everyone else out forever? This is not sustainable.

Rikkitic

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  #2712590 24-May-2021 19:34
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Actually, I think they are going for a coup. They think if they just bull through, and don't make any compromise, that no-one can really do anything about it and ultimately people will just have to put up with it. This seems to have worked in other places. I hope it doesn't work here. But again, I am not Samoan and I am viewing this through my western democratic liberal lens. There are probably nuances to this that  I don't  understand.

 

 

 

 





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Fred99
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  #2712633 24-May-2021 21:02
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Rikkitic:

 

The FAST party won according to the existing rules, just like Trump did. If people don't like that, they should campaign at the next election and change the rules. In the meantime, the rules must be respected or everyone loses. 

 

 

Sure, but the US elections weren't won against a huge margin of 41% vs 55% the popular vote.

 

You might expect that the result would lead to calls for constitutional change to the electoral system, buts that's not going to happen while the newly elected government who only got 41% of the popular vote is in power.

 

It's likely to be divisive IMO.

 

 

 

 


gzt

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  #2712705 24-May-2021 23:40
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Fred99: You might expect that the result would lead to calls for constitutional change to the electoral system, buts that's not going to happen while the newly elected government who only got 41% of the popular vote is in power.

Election results in an FPP system are determined by a majority of seats. That is the electoral system of Samoa. Governments come and go.

gzt

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  #2712838 25-May-2021 12:51
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NZ Herald is trolling and irresponsible this morning:

NZHerald: Live Updates: Samoa's political standoff, UN poised to intervene

Batman
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  #2712966 25-May-2021 19:05
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how can the governing party be at 41% and the losing party at 55%. maybe the election committee needs to go back to school to learn math ...





Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


Rikkitic

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  #2712972 25-May-2021 19:28
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Batman:

 

how can the governing party be at 41% and the losing party at 55%. maybe the election committee needs to go back to school to learn math ...

 

 

Watch out. Your use of that term may be objected to.

 

 





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