As Samoa awaits the official declaration of its 2021 General Elections, results of special votes are eagerly anticipated by those constituencies for which the preliminary results had the first and second placed candidates in a close race.
One such Constituency is Faleata 1 – where the gap between incumbent Member of Parliament and former Associate Minister Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching is 51 votes behind unofficial winner, Manuleleua Paletasala Tovale of the FAST party. Through a transparent process attended by all candidates’ scrutineers, it has been confirmed that there are 125 Special Votes for Faleata 1.
Another Constituency where a swing from one party to the other is possible, is that of Salega 1, where Fepuleai Faasavalu Faimata Sua of FAST is currently the unofficial winner, however, he has HRPP’s Toomata Aki Tuipea only 13 votes behind, and Tautua Samoa’s Afualo Dr Wood Uti Salele trailing by 15 votes. The number of Special Votes is 40.
Then there are close preliminary wins which may switch the final winner, but not swing the pendulum between parties.
That is the case for Palauli 2 where unofficial winner Tiatia Laulu Mapesone Mapusua of FAST is a mere 2 votes ahead of fellow FAST member, Leota Laki Lamositele. There are 48 Special Votes and the final count could well switch the winning candidate, but still for the FAST party.
The same goes for two HRPP candidates at Aleipata Itupa i Lalo, where Fiugalu Eteuati Eteuati, currently the unofficial leader has Tafua Maluelue Tafua trailing by 29 votes. There are 46 Special Votes to tally, which may switch the winner but not the party.
There are also very close preliminary results for which the Special Votes may not have an impact. That is the case for Salega 2, where Olo Fiti Afoa Vaai of FAST is 27 votes ahead of Tapuai Faalogo Tupai Ve’e of HRPP; and there are only 24 Special Votes yet to count.
Special votes are those that were placed into the smaller ballot boxes from each polling booth. Officials such as OEC staff, police and those working at each booth cast their votes where they were stationed, for their respective constituencies.
Special votes also include the mobile booths that visited locations such as Mapuifagalele, Carmelite Sisters at Vailima and the SVSG Campus of Hope. There were also mobile booths for similar locations in Savaii.
This is a developing story..The Faleata 1 count between Manuleleua and Salausa is underway ..