Female candidate and former Member of Parliament, Aiolupotea Maiava Visekota, might not have been successful at Alataua West according to the first unofficial count last night, but that didn’t stop her from smiling yesterday.
Aiolupotea was visiting her cousin in Asau on the big island when the Samoa Observer caught up with her.
“I’m really happy with what I’ve seen today in terms of the peaceful processing (of the elections),” she said. “I feel a complete sense of peace in the environment, it’s not like other years where there was a lot of rushing around and there was so much pressure on voters and the election officials.”
Aiolupotea felt that the peaceful atmosphere was the result of people being more aware about what their votes mean and what their rights are.
“Right now people know what their rights are which allows everything to run smoothly and people are just walking to the polling stations with smiles on their faces,” Aiolupotea said.
But there was just one concern for the female candidate.
“I have noticed that there has been some difficulty finding some people’s names on the role which makes things slow. The slow processing results in crowding in the polling booths which means people will be standing in the hot sun for long periods of time.”
Other than that, Aiolupotea said she is glad she has contributed to the democratic process. She also feels that creating a relationship with the people was the most important thing.
“I feel good with what I have done which is basically walk door to door in three different villages, so what else can be done beyond that?” Aiolupotea said. “I loved meeting people and talking to them creating a relationship because beyond that, it is their free choice to vote for whoever they feel is up for the job.”
Another candidate, Lopaoo Natanielu Mua, who contested the Vaisigano No. 1 seat, was equally impressed about the atmosphere yesterday.
“Whatever the outcome is for this year’s election I will continue to be happy and continue to help the people of both my constituency and Samoa,” he said. “The people have the complete right to choose whoever they feel is up to the task, if they feel that I am able to help both my constituency and Samoa then they will vote for me.
“But if they don’t then they will vote for someone else they feel will do a better job and I am fine with that because it is completely up to them. The main thing is that the people are given the full right to freely vote.”
Lopaoo said he had given his candidacy a lot of thought.
“The people of my constituency have always wanted me to go for it,” Lopao’o said. “For 15 years I have pondered on the people’s opinions for me to run and I am finally answering their call.”
He won the seat.