"We remain in this role and operate business as usual"
The above statement was given by Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to the reporters. The Supreme Court ordered parliament to sit on 17 May 2021 to appoint a new prime minister, but head of state Tuimalealiifano cancelled the session and Tuilaepa said he would stay in office.
Fiame Naomi Mataafa was set to become Samoa's first female prime minister after the country's apex court upheld the election result against a challenge supported by incumbent Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. However, Samoa's head of state, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, made the rare move on the of suspending the parliamentary hearing scheduled to swear in the elected members on Monday.
Cancelling the swearing ceremony wasn’t enough as the leader of the opposition party held a ceremony to form government outside a locked parliament after the incumbent prime minister refused to cede power. Her supporters gathered outside parliament early on Monday, singing songs from Samoa's independence movement more than 50 years ago, reported local media. The incumbent prime minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, who has led Samoa for 23 years, and members of his political party were nowhere in sight during Ms. Mata’afa’s ceremony. He emerged afterward, delivering a speech in which he said he would not recognize her appointment and called her swearing-in an act of “treason.”
“Leave it to us to handle this situation,” he said, vowing to take action against what he called “the highest form of illegal conduct.”