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Samoa could go back to the Polls
05:40 am GMT+12, 22/04/2021, Samoa

Samoa could end going back to the polls should a tie of 26/26 between the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) and the Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) party ensues.
 
The caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the media the possibility of a united Government to avoid Samoa having a hung Parliament.
 
“If I call Parliament to meet tomorrow with such numbers 26/26, then there is no other way but to ask the Head of State to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections,” said Tuilaepa.
 
He said when the results came back on election day, he called Tuala to congratulate him, and then texted him the following Sunday asking for a meeting.
 
“I told him that he held the balance for a Government and that it was a good thing for his children and his constituency, and that I wanted to help him decide no matter which side he will take,” said Tuilaepa.
 
He also informed Tuala that a Government cannot be formed should he continue as an independent, and the only option is for the HOS to declare another election.
 
Asked about the media report that Tuala had asked him to step down, Tuilaepa said the meeting was between two professionals. “The report was a bit harsh but it was not in that tone as we talked as two professionals,” said Tuilaepa.
 
On the second and last meeting, Tuala asked for some of his senior members to be present. But Tuala was late and the meeting was not long “as the party was waiting for our evening prayers,” said Tuilaepa.
 
After that meeting, Tuala said he was announcing his decision on Wednesday this week after he meets his constituency.
 
Tuilaepa has confirmed that his party is preparing legal challenges against FAST and he was mindful of possible petitions against HRPP.
 
How long these legal battles take is unpredictable and it could take more than a month for some.
 
Tuilaepa however said that the hearing of the legal challenges will not stop the formation of a Government, and the outcome of the cases will also determine the fate of the Government of the day.
 
He referred to 1982 when Samoa had four different Governments and Prime Ministers in one year as a result of court cases following the general elections.
 
The court decisions against cases before it will have an impact on the numbers of elected members for each party and may influence the formation of a new government......PACNEWS

Meamwhile, the leader of the FAST party Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa has questioned the intention behind the Warrant of Election issued late Tuesday night declaring HRRP former MP, Ali’imalemanu Alofa Tu’uau elected.
 
In a press conference last night, she said that this is yet another example of the abuse of law she and FAST had been talking about in the lead up to the general elections.
 
Mata’afa was the Minister of the Electoral Office at the time the Act was prepared and passed and she clarified that the Act is not to add women members, but to ensure the number is not less than the legal number which is five.
 
Mata’afa said the declaration of Ali’imalemanu elected as the sixth woman member, seems like the Act was created for the purpose of adding women MP’s to Parliament.
 
“The intent of the Act specifically sets the minimum of women members of not less than 5 – ia le itiiti ifo, but not to add on women MP’s.”
 
Mata’afa insisted the law is very clear that 5 is the number is there was doubt.
 
She also draws the difference between Article 44 of the Electoral Act and the United Nations stance to achieve 30% for women in Parliament for every country.
 
Mata’afa said if the intention of the Warrant declaring Ali’imalemanu an MP is based on the 30%, then there should be a different law governing that.
 
After the general election, four (4) women won their respective seats and with  Mata’afa who was unopposed, made up the five members.
 
Currently there are 51 seats in Parliament.
 
“The only way to add a 6th woman parliamentarian is if there were 60 seats in Parliament. But we have only 51 seats,” said Fiamē.
 
She had previously insisted on the independence of the Office of the Electoral Commission.
 
“But I’m starting to count on things now,” she told media last night when questioned if the Office of the Electoral Commissioner was too politically involved.
 
Mata’afa pointed to previous issues where the Commissioner always referred to the court for clarification without him making a decision.
 
“But why this issue, why now?” she asked.
 
“I’m surprised at how the Commissioner interpreted the Act and came up with such an advice for the Head of State to sign.”
She also said that if the Commissioner had wanted 6 women MPs based on his interpretation of the Act now, he should have explained that well before the general elections so that six women MPs should be elected.
 
Mata’afa insisted that this another example of the abuse of the law and when the law “is our only protection” and why FAST is taking a legal challenge against the Electoral Commissioner’s decision and advice now duly signed by the Head of State.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS


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