National | Pasifika

Ex-PM Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi sworn into Parliament; hugs new PM

After months of political turmoil in the Parliament of Samoa since the April election, the Samoan Prime Minister and her predecessor embraced to cheers in Parliament today.

As reported by the Samoa Observer, former Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi (H.R.P.P Party) shook hands with and hugged his successor Fiame Naomi Mataafa (F.A.S.T Party) as her cabinet ministers and members arrived for Friday's session of the House.

The Speaker, Papali'i Lio Masipau, had banned elected members of the opposition H.R.P.P. from attending this week's parliament sessions and refused to swear them in.

On Thursday however, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the HRPP saying the Speaker was obligated to swear in its elected members.

The Samoa Observer reported Works Transport and Infrastructure Minister Olo Fiti Vaai was the first to greet the members of the rival party who were already seated on the right side of the House.

His gesture was received with a hug from Tuilaepa, who stood up and crossed the floor to greet his successor Fiame.

Seeing the leaders of the country finally meeting halfway, smiling and hugging led to a round of applause from their audience.