Court Imposes Strict Timelines to Election Petitions


Justice Mata Tuatagaloa has warned all parties of candidate eligibility petitions that strict timelines will be imposed by the Supreme Court.

20 petitions were filed last Friday 30th October and as confirmed by the MJCA CEO, all petitions must be heard and determined before the Supreme Court within 20 working days.

The petitions are either filed by aspiring candidates unable to register for the April 2021 general elections, or by a registered candidate challenging the eligibility of another candidate.

In most petitions the respondent is the Electoral Commissioner of Samoa, or the Attorney General sued for and on behalf of the Electoral Commissioner.

In Court yesterday morning Justice Mata Tuatagaloa issued reminder to counsels of both sides.

“Keep in mind that the Court will be very strict with the timeline given and I want all the responses to be filed by 12 noon on Thursday.”

Amongst the list of applicants is Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti bringing a case against businessman Fiu Gasologa Tavita Foloki and the Electoral Commissioner. Fiu Gasologa is one of three candidates from the village of Salelologa approved by the Electoral Commissioner to contest the seat for Faasaleleaga#1 currently held by the Minister of Finance.

In 2016, all election petitions filed before the Courts were withdrawn by applicants after interventions by various Village Councils.

The Samoa Oberver reported yesterday that a spokesman for Salelologa, Taotua Ioane, has confirmed that the Village Council had met over the weekend and have imposed an ultimatum over the Minister of Finance to remove his challenge over the eligibility of Fiu Gasologa Foloki.

Marieta H Ilalio