Election heats up

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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TIME FOR A PHOTO: Office of the Electoral Commission staff have been busy with candidate registrations.

TIME FOR A PHOTO: Office of the Electoral Commission staff have been busy with candidate registrations.

There is excitement and anxiety in the air as the countdown to the General Elections, 24 days from today, continues.

And two days since nominations opened at the Office of the Electoral Commission, candidates rolling in and out are excited but also nervous.

The nomination period for candidates was officially opened on Monday and will be closed on Friday afternoon. 

At Mulinu’u yesterday, the former Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Services, Leota Laki Sio,was among the candidates signing up.

Contesting for PalauliileFalefa seat as an H.R.P.P. candidate, Leota said his registration is official. 

“My lawyer prepared and signed the required documents,” he said. 

“It feels good to finally get this going…I cannot wait until the day that gunshot goes off and election starts.”

 As for his preparations, Leota assured that he is mentally, spiritually and physically prepared. 

“Everything is going smoothly,” he added. “I am confident about the support from my constituency. I’ve had a verygood response from them.”

Leota is taking on the former Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga. Tusiata Tiatia Kalapu makes up three H.R.P.P candidates vying for the seat.

Asked if he is confident, Leota said to wait and see.

Equally keen is Aulavemai Tafito Selesele Faaaliga of Vaimoso. 

Running under the flag of H.R.P.P. for Faleata East, Aulavemai said he cannot wait until the election.

“I’m happy and excited about it,” he said. 

A former Member of Parliament, Aulavemai is vying for the seat currently held by Aveau Niko Palamo of the Tautua Samoa Party.

Asked if he is nervous, Aulavemai said: “Only new candidates would feel that way.

“I feel happy in a sense that it’s finally here (election period) and I have accomplished that dream of contesting (once I register).

“It’s also a happy feeling seeing that candidates shake hands without any hard feelings. At least after this (registration) we will know for sure who will run and who isn’t.”

Aveau also submitted his registration yesterday. And he too is optimistic.

“It’s good to have the support of your family, friends and the constituency,” said the Tautua Samoa M.P. 

“There has been a lot of pressure on the people (voters) and I feel for them…sometimes you ask yourself, who am I for them to support me. But I’m thankful for it. 

“That is life, at the end of the day it’s about your family, friends and village that counts.”

Aveau wishes all the candidates all the best for the race. 

Acting Electoral Commissioner, Faimalotumua Mathew Lemisio, confirmed that the majority of candidates who lodged their nominations (on Monday) were accepted in accordance with the requirements of the Electoral Act. 

“Those who didn’t have all the required documentations were asked to provide them before their nominations are considered,” said Faimalo. 

“Under the Electoral Act, we are only authorised to publish the final list of all candidates and the Parties they are contesting the election under after the closure of the Nomination Period.”

That nomination period closes on Friday afternoon. 

 On Friday last week, the Human Rights Protection Party announced 121 candidates including sitting M.Ps contesting under the party’s flag. 

As for the Tautua Samoa Party, they have kept a low profile of their candidates.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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