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Apia, SAMOA – July 27, 2021: 4pm (SAMOA OBSERVER): Former Samoa Prime Minister and leader of Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has conceded defeat and welcomed the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party led by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa to take over Government.

Holding a press conference at the HRPP headquarter in Petesa Monday, Tuilaepa took a deep breathe, recalling a long road his Government has come for the last 40 years since it got into power.

“FAST here is the Government,” Tuilaepa told a crowd of more than 200 supporters and members.

After 23 years leading the nation as Prime Minister, the veteran MP of Lepa says his party is ready to stand on the other corner of parliament’s chamber to lead the strongest opposition of Samoa.

“We will be present in every parliament sitting so we can uphold the duties we were called to do by our constituencies and not leave to do other things,” he said.

In his farewell speech as the leader of the outgoing Government, Tuilaepa says he has also advised the heads of public servants to offer their support to the FAST administration and continue their hard work.

His decision follows the Court of Appeal verdict last Friday declaring the FAST party as the legitimate Government validating the party’s impromptu swearing-in on the lawn of the Parliament on 24 May 2021.

The orders of the Appellate Court ends a three-month running power struggle leading to a stalemate since April’s general election.

Tuilaepa also criticised the decision by the Court, saying it has destroyed the Constitution that the Samoan forebears fought for.

He added that to look into the future the HRPP will continue to do what it has always done and that is to work hard and serve its people.

Former Samoa PM Tuilaepa endorses new Government to Ministry heads

Meanwhile, Tuilaepa has met with the heads of the Samoa Government Ministries and urged them to give the new Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) administration their full backing, the Samoa Observer can reveal.

Tuilaepa, on Monday hosted a farewell meeting with all Government Ministry heads, encouraging all to give the new administration their full support.

“The whole meeting was to encourage the Government heads to throw our 100 plus per cent support behind FAST,” the Samoa Observer was told by a meeting attendee.

The new Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa announced last Saturday that it expects the former caretaker Government to move out of its offices by the end of Monday.

But the Police say they have not received orders to forcibly remove the former Prime Minister and his Cabinet after the new Government’s 5pm Monday deadline, the Deputy Police Commissioner, Auapaau Logo Filipo has said.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Auapaau said they had not received such an order for enforcement.

“We have not received anything like that; it must have been a dialogue between the two parties directly that they should vacate by five today,” Auapa’au said.

“We were not copied in that. But we will wait if we do receive such an order.

“There’s no order that the Police will close in on the former caretaker Government by 5pm.”

Reliable sources have told the Samoa Observer that the FAST administration has rejected a request from the former Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) government to give them seven days to pack out of their offices.

This request was confirmed by Maiava Visekota Peteru, a senior lawyer and presenter of a daily live update from the HRPP headquarter on Sunday, saying said the request was conveyed by the HRPP leader, Tuilaepa  Sailele Malielegaoi himself to now-Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

The Samoa Observer understands that the new Government is standing by their initial announcement that they will move into their offices on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Prime Minister, Fiame said Parliament to be convened at the “earliest opportunity” in the coming week.

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