An Update as we Await Decisions for Final Three Electoral Petitions

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15 August 2021 Apia Samoa. Court decisions for the final three electoral petitions are expected to be handed down tomorrow Monday 16 August 2021.

The cases pending are petitions against three HRPP elected candidates. Former Minister of Education Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, elected MP for Falealili Fuimaono Teo Samuelu Atiifale, and son of former Speaker of the House Aiono Afaese Toleafoa.

All three cases finally proceeded to hearings after negotiations to try and settle matters out of Court proved unsuccessful. The deal breaker in negotiations being that FAST petitioners would only agree to withdraw, if the HRPP elected MPs agreed to resign.

As Samoa awaits the final three decisions, this is where we are at with the 51 parliamentary seats following the 28 electoral petitions and counter petitions that have flooded the Supreme Court since the April 9th General Elections.

With three decisions pending, there are presently 26 FAST and 18 HRPP seats, with 4 by-elections confirmed.

HRPP’s 25 Seats

Of HRPP’s 25 seats won at the general election, 14 were petitioned while 11 remained safe.

What is important to note is that of the 14 petitions against HRPP candidates, only 10 were filed by FAST. Three were HRPP against HRPP and one was by Independent candidate Maualaivao Patelesio Ah Him who successfully displaced Seiuli Ueligitone Seiuli. Sagaga 2 was the first by-election confirmed.  A senior HRPP member Tafua Maluelue Tafua would not back down in his petition against Fiugalu Eteuati Eteuati, and a by-election is confirmed for Aleipata Itupa i Lalo. Two HRPP-HRPP petitions were withdrawn following reconciliations between Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa and his neighbour from Laulii, Fuatimau Maumea Leniu; and Tuuu Amaramo Sialaoa withdrawing his case to allow for the return of veteran Siumu MP, Tuuu Anasii Leota.

And the remaining 10?

Four were negotiated with FAST petitioners out of Court and were withdrawn. They are (i) former Minister of Finance also former Minister for Infrastructure Tapunuu Niko Lee Hang for Vaimauga 3, (ii) former EPC boss Lupematasila Galumalemana Tologata Togia Tile Leia for Falelatai and Samatau, (iii) Two-term MP Leaana Roni Posini of Safata 1 and (iv) former Chief Executive of ACC, Nonu Teo Lomialagi Lose Niumata of Safata 2.

Two winning HRPP candidates, both lawyers, settled out of Court with agreements to withdraw on the condition that they hand in their resignations. Aveau Leota Tima Leavai for the Falealupo seat means Samoa’s Parliament loses an elected woman MP, and Tuisa Tasi Patea of Sagaga 4. This means by-elections are expected for these two constituencies.

With three cases pending, just one has been heard in Court – HRPP’s Deputy Leader, Lauofo Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo who was cleared of all bribery charges brought against him.

Here’s a look at where we are at with the HRPP petitions..

Confirmed MP’s

By Election

Pending

Vaimauga 1 : Sulamanaia Tauiliili TuivasaSagaga 2: Seiuli Ueligitone SeiuliSagaga 1: Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio
Vaimauga 3:  Tapunuu Niko Lee HangSagaga 4: Tuisa Tuimasealii Tasi PateaAana Alofi 2: Aiono Afaese Tolafoa
Falelatai ma Samatau: Lupematasila Galumalemana Tologata Togia Tile LeiaAleipata Itupa i Lalo: Fiugalu Eteuati EteuatiFalealili 2: Fuimaono Teo Samuelu Atiifale
Safata 1: Leaana Roni PosiniFalealupo: Leota Aeau Tima Leavai
Safata 2: Nonu Teo Lomialagi Lose Niumata
Siumu: Tuuu Anasii Leota
Anoamaa 2:  Lauofo Fonotoe Luafesili Pierre Lauofo

 

So as we await the final three Court decisions, we can confirm FAST has 26 and HRPP 18, with four confirmed by-elections.

XVII Parliament Could be one of 51, 52 or 53 members. 

Also, with Aeau Leota Tima Leavai being forced to step-down, there could possibly be two seats required to be filled under the Temporary Special Measure (TSM) of Article 44.

Samoa’s XVIIth Parliament could well be a sitting of 53 seats. ie: The current elected seats include only four women. IF two do not come through the by-elections, then two would need to be selected from amongst the unsuccessful candidates.

However if two women are elected at the by-elections, then Samoa would have a Parliament of 51 and no woman would need to be appointed under the TSM.

And the final possibility, if one woman is elected at the by-elections, then one would be appointed or selected under Arricle 44 and Samoa’s Parliament would be 52.


Marieta H Ilalio