7 June 2021 Mulinuu Apia Samoa. Three successful election petitions with respective counter petitions, are being heard before the Supreme Court of Samoa today.
Former Associate Minister of Justice Sooalo Umi Feo Mene filed a petition against successful FAST candidate Vaele Paiaaua Iona Sekuini who secured the win for the Gagaifomauga 2 constituency.
Sooalo polled 152 votes behind Vaele at the 9th April general election, with 596 to 444 according to official results published by OEC.
Sooalo is represented in Court by former Attorney General Aumua Ming Leung Wai while SLS President Leiataualesa Komisi Koria is standing for Vaele. The peititon is being heard before Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa and Justice Leiataualesa Rapi Vaai.
HRPP veteran MP Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow who has held the Faasaleleaga No2 seat since 2006, filed a petition against FAST winning MP Magele Sekati. Gatoloaifaana is the daughter of Samoa Prime Minister the late Hon Tofilau Eti Alesana.
Gatoloai polled 94 votes behind Magele at the general election.
Gatoloaifaana is represented by lawyer Jerry Brunt while Magele Sekati is represented by Alex Su’a with Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese and Justice Tafaoimalo Tologata Leilani Tuala-Warren presiding.
The third petition being heard today was filed by businessman and Independent candidate Maualaivao Pat Ah Him.
He is petitioning incumbent and winner of the Sagaga 2 seat – Seiuli Ueligitone who is a Quantity Surveyor by profession and was Associate Minister for MWTI from 2016-2021.
Maualaivao polled 152 votes behind Seiuli and is represented in Court by lawyer Tofilau Leone Sua-Mailo, while Shane Wulf is standing for Seiuli before Jusitce Vui Clarence Nelson and Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.
All three petitioners also face counter petitions against them, filed by the winning candidates.
Supreme Court resources are stretched with two justices presiding over each case. The Electoral Act requires the Court to set aside other matters and prioritise election petitions.
With 28 peitions filed, the work of the Supreme Court could take several weeks.